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Jefferson Scholars Foundation Announces Next Class of Scholars

The Jefferson Scholars Foundation today announced the names of the 33 students who will commence their studies this fall at the University of Virginia as the Jefferson Scholars Class of 2017. Awarded solely on the basis of merit, Jefferson Scholarships provide full financial support for four years of study at the university.

Jefferson Scholars undergo a rigorous multi-stage selection process. Candidates must first be nominated by their high schools for their demonstrated excellence and exceptional potential in the areas of leadership, scholarship and citizenship. They are then interviewed by one of 57 Jefferson Scholars Regional Selection Committees. If selected as a regional finalist, they are invited to come to Charlottesville to participate in the last stage of the competition, engaging in a series of activities, including essay and mathematics examinations, seminars led by University faculty members, as well as a final round of interviews conducted by U.Va. alumni, faculty and administrators.

This year approximately 1,500 students were nominated by their high schools. Additional finalists were selected by U.Va.’s Office of Undergraduate Admission, which reviews the applications of all students. A total of 115 finalists from 32 states and seven foreign countries made their way to Charlottesville to participate in the 33rd annual Jefferson Scholars Selection Weekend.

The 33 Jefferson Scholars selected this year come from 16 different states and join a community of 84 current second-, third- and fourth-year scholars, who are active and visible leaders at the University. Among the current scholars is the chair of U.Va.’s Honor Committee, the student representative to the Board of Visitors, the editor-in-chief of The Cavalier Daily, members of the Raven Society and University Judiciary Committee, as well as leaders for student organizations like One in Four, which provides peer education on dealing with and preventing sexual assault.

“Jefferson Scholars are motivated to lead not out of selfish ambition, but because of a genuine desire to make the world a better place,” Jimmy Wright, president of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, said. “This concept of selfless service and servant leadership has defined the Jefferson Scholars community for 33 years and I am eager to see how this particular class of scholars puts its own unique stamp on the University of Virginia.”

Since the program began in 1980, nearly 6,500 Jefferson Scholarship nominees have elected to attend U.Va., even without having received the Jefferson Scholarship.

“What many people don’t realize is this class of Jefferson Scholars will also be joining hundreds of other Jefferson Scholar nominees,” said Ben Skipper, director of the Jefferson Scholars Undergraduate Program. “Our selection process has proven to be an effective recruiting tool for the university – over the last five years, Jefferson Scholarship nominees have constituted approximately 8 to 9 percent of each entering class.”

The incoming Jefferson Scholars are:

  • Adam Thomas Antoszewski, Catonsville High School, Halethorpe, Md.
  • Abraham Graver Axler, Brooklyn Friends School, New York
  • Marc Isaac Blatt, The Landon School, Potomac, Md.
  • Kevin Quoc Khoa Cao, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax
  • John Eldridge Connolly, The Charter School of Wilmington, Wilmington, Del.
  • Claire Enderle Councill, Westchester Country Day School, High Point, N.C.
  • Kathryn Elizabeth Deal, Science Hill High School, Jonesborough, Tenn.
  • Sumedha Suhas Deshmukh, Princess Anne High School, Virginia Beach
  • Anna Harper Claybrooke Dodd, Norfolk Academy, Norfolk
  • Macy Lauren Early, Henry Clay High School, Lexington, Ky.
  • Nicholas Paul Favaloro, Belmont Hill School, Concord, Mass.
  • Nicholas Budd Fenton, The Lawrenceville School, Skillman, N.J.
  • Aryn Aliya Frazier, James Hubert Blake High School, Silver Spring, Md.
  • Benjamin Jacob Gilbert, Academic Magnet High School, Charleston, S.C.
  • Anne Pryor Gravely, Carlisle School, Martinsville
  • William Charles Henagan, The Lovett School, Atlanta
  • Joseph Paul Huddleston, The Covenant School, Charlottesville
  • Lauren Christine Jackson, Pulaski Academy, Little Rock, Ark.
  • Jeremy Michael Jones, Lawton Chiles High School, Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Sarah Marie Koch, The Pembroke Hill School, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Madison Kaye Lahey, United World College of the Atlantic, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Sasheenie Moodley, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta
  • Samendra Prasad, Clarence Senior High School, East Amherst, N.Y.
  • Ezekiel Richard Reed, Los Angeles Center For Enriched Studies, Topanga, Calif.
  • Andrew Michael Ricciardone, Central High School, Little Rock, Ark.
  • Alexandra Gabrielle Rossi, Middleburg Academy, Leesburg
  • Kathryn Patricia Rouse, West Morris Mendham High School, Mendham, N.J.
  • Claire Ryder, Blair Academy, Pittsford, N.Y.
  • William Giles Tucker, Woodberry Forest School, Manakin Sabot
  • Keaton Matthew Wadzinski, Franklin High School, Franklin, Tenn.
  • James Gray Whisnant, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School, Richmond
  • Sarah Lott Wyckoff, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Bethesda, Md.
  • Richard Todd Yoder, Wesleyan School, Milton, Ga.

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