The Robert T. Jones Trust selected four College seniors to study for a year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland as recipients of the annual Robert T. Jones Jr. Scholarships.
The Robert T. Jones Scholarship, often referred to as the Bobby Jones Scholarship, was established in 1976 to honor the renowned golfer and Emory alumnus. Each year, the scholarship provides a tuition waiver and a living stipend for a year at the University of St. Andrews.
The University, a public research university located in Fife, Scotland, was founded in 1413 and is the third oldest university in the English-speaking world.
According to the scholarship’s website, award criteria include an outstanding academic record, a record of significant leadership in the Emory community and scholarly interests that can be pursued through the offerings at St. Andrews.
College senior Kate Cyr, an international studies and Middle Eastern and South Asian studies double-major, wrote in an email to the Wheel that she plans to pursue a one-year Master of Letters in peace and conflict studies degree at the University of St. Andrews’ School of International Relations.
“My goal is to go into international human rights law, or a related field,” Cyr wrote. “I think it’s really important to understand the field from multiple angles, and a master’s in peace and conflict studies would help me understand the theories that go into international policy regarding violence.”
Cyr is currently writing her honors thesis on Kurdish violence in Turkey and its depiction in the media. She wrote that her main interest is in ethnonationalist and independence movements, with a focus on the Kurds specifically.
“In Scotland, I want to broaden my understanding of global conflict away from one particular region or sub-topic,” she wrote.
Cyr currently serves as co-president of the Emory International Relations Association, formerly known as Emory Model United Nations, and has been a competitive delegate for the past four years, traveling around the country to debate. She is also a brother in Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity.
College senior Kadiata Sy wrote in an email to the Wheel that she plans to pursue a one-year Master of Letters in Middle East and Central Asian security studies at the University of St. Andrews. Sy is pursuing a double-major in political science and Middle Eastern and South Asian studies at Emory. The degree allows students to choose a language track as a part of the master’s degree. Sy plans to focus on Arabic as her language track.
Asked why she applied for the Bobby Jones Scholarship, Sy wrote that she wants to work in community building and conflict resolution in the near future.
“I believe receiving graduate studies in my current field of study at St. Andrews will enable me to accomplish my future career goals,” she wrote.
Sy wrote that she plans to continue her honors thesis research on “slavery in Islamic law and its problematic use by Muslim extremist groups, such as ISIS, to justify the demand for institutionalizing the institution of slavery” during her stay at St. Andrews.
In the fall of 2012, Sy transferred to Emory College from Georgia Perimeter College, where she served as president of the Student Government Association. Sy is the founder and co-president of the Association of Middle Eastern Studies at Emory and served as the director of Emory Model Arab League.
College senior Peter Habib is a Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies major and a development studies minor and will also be pursuing a Master of Letters in Middle East and Central Asian security studies degree at the University of St. Andrews.
“Aside from the prestige of St. Andrews University and the incredible master’s education I would receive, I was really interested in the scholarship’s ambassadorial component,” Habib wrote in an email to the Wheel on why he decided to apply for the scholarship. “It’s so exciting to be representing Emory abroad, within the amazing cross-cultural context of Scotland.”
Habib added that he is writing his honors thesis on the recruitment tactics of the prominent militant groups ISIS and al-Qaeda, based on their extensive written media campaigns. Habib wrote that he plans to continue this research through the independent research component of the MECASS program.
“Through the MECASS [Middle East and Central Asian security studies] program, I will be able to build off my knowledge of Middle Eastern history through courses that focus on the contemporary politics of the region,” Habib wrote.
Habib currently serves as a group leader in Emory Christian Fellowship and is a public affairs officer for the Emory Association of Middle Eastern Studies. He is also a Table Talk facilitator.
College senior Sara Stavile, an English and creative writing major, plans to pursue a master’s in modern and contemporary literature and culture at the University of St. Andrews. The Master of Letters in modern and contemporary literature and culture degree is a year-long program, which according to Stavile, is a “perfect blend of [her] interest in social movements and literature.”
Stavile wrote in an email to the Wheel that at Emory she primarily writes fantasy novels that explore issues of social inequality, identity development and environmental sustainability.
“Really, a lot of my interests at Emory are a mesh between my love of literature and my work as a social justice advocate,” she wrote.
Stavile added that she eventually wants to get a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing degree.
“So the modern and contemporary literature and culture degree is a way for me to learn about social movements and other ways of writing,” Stavile wrote. “A lot of being a good writer comes from reading a lot, and this degree will allow me to do just that. [Also,] St. Andrews really prioritizes sustainability, which is always a plus.”
Stavile currently serves as co-director of Alternative Breaks for Volunteer Emory and as president of NERD, Emory’s science fiction and fantasy club. She is also the founder of the 1915 Scholars mentorship program for low-income students.
— By Annie McGrew