Four Emory Seniors Named Bobby Jones Scholars

Four Emory students learned on Saturday, Feb. 20, that they had each won the prestigious Robert T. Jones, Jr. Scholarship, an award unique to Emory that provides recipients with a year of study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

“I freaked out in the hallway,” said Goizueta Business School senior Adam Goldstein, one of the recipients of the scholarship, after he picked up a letter in White Hall informing him that he had won the award. “It’s been a dream of mine since freshman year to get the scholarship and study at St. Andrews.”

The Robert T. Jones, Jr. Scholarship, better known as the Bobby Jones Scholarship, allows four Emory students to pursue studies at St. Andrews and four St. Andrews students to come to Emory for one year. The Emory-affiliated award exemplifies a close relationship between Emory and St. Andrews, as it has been offered since 1976 and has given more than 250 students from Emory and St. Andrews the opportunity to study abroad.

The scholarship celebrates the legacy of the prominent golfer and Emory alumnus, Bobby Jones.

Laila Attala, a College senior and Bobby Jones Scholarship recipient, said that she learned about Bobby Jones’ life as she prepared for her scholarship interviews.

“He was so much more than a golfer; he was a scholar and had this curiosity that drove him to study mechanical engineering, and then English, and then law,” she said. “What I see in his legacy is that he never boxed himself in. He was kind of a Renaissance man.”

Academic merit is not enough to be selected as a Bobby Jones Scholar, according to Megan Friddle, director of the National Scholarships and Fellowships Program at Emory. As part of this international exchange program, Emory seeks to select individuals who are deeply involved with the Emory community and who will serve as exemplary representatives of Emory University during their time at St. Andrews, Friddle said.

“I am most excited about the ambassadorial aspect of the scholarship,” College senior and Bobby Jones Scholarship recipient Lucky Khambouneheuang said. “Not only is this a wonderful opportunity to pursue an academic degree but also an opportunity to meet new people and represent Emory.”

The final selection committee, which is comprised of University faculty, Bobby Jones alumni and community supporters of the Bobby Jones program, made its final decisions about scholarship recipients from a pool of 12 finalists.

”I appreciated all the effort the committee members and the [Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE)] put into creating a seamless, engaging and energizing experience for the finalists,” College senior and Bobby Jones Scholarship recipient Hannah Rose Blakeley said.

Blakeley, a Dean’s Achievement Scholar majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies and French, said that she was ecstatic to learn that she had been chosen as a Bobby Jones Scholar. “I grew up reading novels by UK authors like George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, etc.,” she said. “I am excited to live in Scotland for a year and to broaden my understanding and knowledge of British arts and cultures.”

Last year, Blakeley wrote and defended an honors thesis about the German Expressionist printmaker Käthe Kollwitz. Currently, she is interning at the Michael C. Carlos Museum and curating an online exhibition of works by nineteenth century Belgian Symbolist Félicien Rops to be published this spring.

Through her on-campus activities, from singing in four choral music groups to working as a study abroad peer advisor for Center of International Programs Abroad (CIPA), Blakeley said that she has “worked to link academics and social engagement.” She said that she hopes to continue to do so at St. Andrews where she plans to pursue an MLitt in art history, focusing on nineteenth- and twentieth-century European works on paper.

She said she especially looks forward to having the opportunity to work with scholars at St. Andrews who specialize in her areas of art history interest, as wellexperimenting with new, web-based methods of presenting art and art historical scholarship to a wider, more diverse public, which is one of her broader career goals.

“I hope to help make artworks more accessible, both materially and intellectually, throughout my career,” Blakeley said. After St. Andrews, she intends to work towards a PhD in art history, and to eventually work in either academia or museums.

Laila Atalla, a double major in environmental studies and Latin and Caribbean studies and an Emory Scholar, said that she was “happy and relieved and a little incredulous” when she found out she had won the scholarship.

She plans to seek a Masters of Science in sustainable development at St. Andrews and to conduct research in the Center of Housing Research at St. Andrews in the Places, Policies and Practices subdivision that studies spatial inequalities and environmental justice issues.

“I’ve developed some specialized skills in environmental sciences that allow me to dive deep into certain questions, but I also have this variety of lenses to look at a problem from my other classes,” she said

Attala said she plans to connect with the St. Andrews community and to serve as an ambassador for Emory, because she has taken classes in Emory history, such as “Religion and Ecology: Emory as Place” with Professor of Pedagogy Barbara Patterson.

Looking forward, Attala said that her involvement in Volunteer Emory has proved crucial in shaping her career path. “If I’m not working with a community partner like Trees Atlanta, which I’ve worked with for three years now, I’m not going to know what sustainability looks like on the ground and how conservation depends on community and culture,” she said.

Ultimately, she hopes to work in climate change adaptation at the local level. “Something that interests me a lot is taking the best science and translating that into on-the-ground action to make sustainable change,” she said.

Adam Goldstein, a Dean’s Achievement Scholar in the Business School with a second major in history, first heard about the scholarship as a freshman, when his PACE advisor, Department of History Chair and Jimmy Carter Professor Joseph Crespino, heard about his interest in history and golf and advised him to aim for this award. Since then, he has shaped his college career around the goal of winning the scholarship.

Goldstein said that he plans to pursue a Master’s degree in sustainable development. He hopes to conduct research at the Center for Housing Research at St. Andrews, as his academic studies have centered on the history of poverty and that of public housing.

“My thesis now is about public housing in Atlanta, and I’m hoping to get some background in housing policy at St. Andrews,” he said.

Goldstein said that he looks forward to joining the club Men’s Golf team and connecting with students from the UK and all around the world at St. Andrews. He said that he plans eventually to come back to Atlanta and work for a housing entity, whether it be a non-profit or for-profit developer.

He would advise students who are considering applying for the Bobby Jones Scholarship to find “an academic program that fits with [their] studies at Emory and extracurriculars that allow [them] to serve as [ambassadors] to St. Andrews from Emory and Atlanta,” he said.

Lucky Khambouneheuang, a biology major with a minor in science, culture and society,  said that he was overwhelmed with tears of joy when he found out about his selection as a Bobby Jones Scholarship recipient.

“At the moment, I began to think about all the amazing friends, professors and mentors who have challenged me and played important roles in both my academic and personal growth at Emory,” he said. “[Receiving the scholarship] was a nice way of ending my last year at Emory but nonetheless staying connected with Emory while being abroad.”

Khambouneheuang plans to pursue a Master’s in health psychology at St. Andrews. “This degree presents a unique opportunity for me to broaden my undergraduate scientific background to encompass a more holistic approach to healthcare,” he said.

His experience leading Volunteer Emory service trips and working with Camp Kesem summer programs has provided him “unique opportunities to explore the interrelatedness of different social justice issues,” he said. He added that “these invaluable insights ultimately inspired [him] to become a compassionate physician and community leader.”

Khambouneheuang was chosen to be a Georgia Tech Petit Undergraduate Research Scholar in 2015 for his work as a research assistant at the Yerkes Research Center, and he received the Davidson Medicine and Compassion Award for the Italian Study Abroad program, which he leads as a teaching assistant.

“I absolutely enjoy learning about new cultures, and Scotland is not known just for its scenic beauty but also rich history,” he said.

Friddle said that this year’s group of Bobby Jones Scholars is particularly notable in that they have each been deeply involved in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary work at Emory.

“Their projects that have helped them to better understand their areas of specialization, but that have also helped them to see where their scholarship, research and community engagement intersect with other disciplines and other communities,” she wrote in an email to the Wheel.

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