Four College seniors were named recipients of the 2018 Bobby Jones Scholarship: Wei Wei Chen, Leah Neiman, Carli Kovel and Jason Sell. The scholars will complete a paid year of master’s study at University of St. Andrews in Scotland next year.
Established in 1976 to honor Emory alumnus and renowned golfer Robert T. Jones (29L), the scholarship, which provides a tuition waiver and living stipend, is awarded annually to four graduating or recently graduated students, according to the scholarship’s website.
The application consists of a resume, transcript, two essays and three letters of recommendation. Applicants attended an evening reception with the selection committee Feb. 16 and conducted three interviews the following day, according to Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, Director of the Bobby Jones Program and Bobby Jones Advisory Member Joanne Brzinski. The selection committee is composed of University faculty members and administrators, former Bobby Jones Scholarship recipients and the award namesake’s grandson Bob Jones IV.
Recipients of the scholarship must be “excellent representatives” of the University and exhibit “intellectual excellence,” “a record of significant leadership in the Emory community,” “excellent speaking and writing abilities” and “strong interpersonal skills,” according to the scholarship qualifications.
Chen is majoring in film studies with a concentration in film and media management from the Goizueta Business School and plans on pursuing a master’s in contemporary studies. She plans to examine modern issues from 12 perspectives and culminate her program with a film portfolio. At Emory, Chen is president of Emory Arts Underground and a resident adviser (RA). She previously worked as a graphic design and marketing intern at Emory’s Center for Women and participated in Issues Troupe and Theater Emory.
“The [part of the process] that stood out to me is that in previous interviews [for scholarships] I felt like I was acting as someone that they wanted to see, and this is the first time that I was completely myself,” Chen said. “The fact that [the selection committee] liked that meant a lot more to me.”
Neiman, a double major in classics and Ancient Mediterranean studies, plans to use the scholarship to complete a master’s degree in museum and gallery studies, building on her archaeological field work in Greece and Kenya. She has served as an academic fellow mentor in the Office for Undergraduate Education and a chemistry and Ancient Greek mentor for EPASS.
“I was shaking and crying [when I found out I won] and not processing it all, and then I called my mom,” Neiman said. “It was entirely surreal and very humbling.”
A chemistry mentor with research experience and STEM leadership, Kovel will pursue a master’s degree in catalysis. The program “aims to introduce awareness of the role catalysis plays in improving sustainability and solving environmental issues in chemical manufacturing,” according to St. Andrews website.
Kovel is also vice president of technology for Emory Media Council, co-president of Hybrid Vigor science magazine, treasurer of Emory Undergraduate Medical Review, outreach chair of Association for Women in Science and a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) mentor.
“I think [my application stood out] because I’m passionate about chemistry but also the arts,” Kovel said. “I’m interested in bridging the sciences and humanities.”
Sell, a psychology major, plans to study management at St. Andrews. He said he was “ecstatic” when he found out he received the scholarship. At Emory, Sell was a Community Building and Social Change fellow at the Center for Community Engagement and conducted research at the Policy Analysis Lab and the BUILD Lab.
“It felt like I’ve been working for this for four years, so to get it was gratifying,” Sell said.
The committee selects the four four students for their leadership and contributions to the Emory community, according to Brzinski.
“These four students … have a love of the work that they are doing here and a sense of how they will develop that interest at St. Andrew’s,” Brzinski said. “They stood out in part due to their ability to really talk about their passions, their academics and how they developed here.”
Although 12 students are normally accepted as finalists, 13 were accepted due to the strength of this year’s applicant pool.
“One of the things that always is a struggle with the scholarship is the applicants at both stages are really excellent,” Brzinski said. “One of the comments that the committee makes almost every year is that they wish that they could send more than four because every single one of the finalists is outstanding.”
Forrest Martin contributed reporting.
Editor’s note: No Wheel staff member who was a candidate for the scholarship was involved in the editing or writing of this article.
Correction (2/21/18 at 6:52 p.m.): The article originally incorrectly said that one of Neiman’s majors is anthropology and human biology. Neiman’s second major is classics.