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Matthew Ross Wanetik Memorial Scholarship Honors ‘Admirable Life’

June 21, 2024

Zoe Tatum Best strives to make the most of every opportunity. 

Zoe Tatum Best
Zoe Tatum Best

While majoring in political science, the rising senior volunteers as an officer of Delta Gamma sorority, has spent two semesters studying abroad, performs stand-up comedy, is an avid marathoner and delights in the opportunity to test her limits while engaging with the community.

“I love the thrill and challenge that comes along with stand-up comedy and running,” says Best, who just capped off a spring semester abroad by completing the 2024 Madrid Marathon. “Running is a passion that I get to combine with travel. I love to go around the country and outside of the U.S. to run different marathons.”

Best’s effervescent personality made her the top choice for this year’s Matthew Ross Wanetik Memorial Scholarship, which honors the life of a Maxwell School student who passed away from an undetected heart ailment while studying abroad in 2008. 

Wanetik was majoring in political science and international relations. The similarities between the two students are striking. Wanetik was a brother in Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity through which he participated in many service activities, including helping with the clean-up effort in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Also, like Best, Wanetik was a frequent stand-up comic at the student-run Playground organization, performed for University Union and loved to run.

Best plans to attend law school—a goal that is more possible through financial support she receives. “The stress that comes with paying for school is something that weighs heavily on a lot of students, and being awarded a scholarship like this takes the focus off money and back onto finishing my education,” says Best. “Especially with law school in my future, this makes all of the difference in my abilities to support myself post-graduation.”

“And it is all thanks to the admirable life that Matt Wanetik lived and inspired other people to live.”

By Jessica Smith

Published in the Spring 2024 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

Communications and Media Relations Office
200 Eggers Hall