OXFORD, Miss. – Ten standout incoming freshmen accepted into the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi have been awarded two of the university’s most prestigious scholarships.
Of the 10, six were awarded the Doris Raymond Scholarships, and the remaining four received the McDonnell Barksdale Scholarship, which both provide $8,000 per year for up to four years.
Barksdale Scholarship recipients are Hailey Knight of Tupelo, Katarina Pittman of Clinton, Elizabeth Hasley of Myrtle and Alexis Smith of Picayune.
Raymond Scholarships recipients are Sara Porcheddu of Hurst, Texas, Jacob Thrasher of Birmingham, Alabama, Samuel Palmer of Ridgeland, Sidney Scott of Clarksville, Tennessee, Megan McLeod of Littleton, Colorado, and Kellie Shannon of Madison.
“These scholarship students set the bar high for both their peers and for professors,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College. “It is a joy to teach such high performers.”
“Ole Miss boasts a long lists of accomplishments and offers me numerous academic opportunities,” said Shannon, who said she was surprised to receive her award notification. “However, my biggest reason for coming to Ole Miss is that it feels like home.”
“I believe the Honors College will shape my college experience by affording me unique opportunities to broaden my perspective, providing classroom settings and resources that encourage discussion with peers and more personal attention from professors, and an environment that will push me to grow academically and socially,” McLeod said.
Porcheddu graduated from Grapevine Senior High School. She was the founder and president of the Grapevine High Young Democrats Club and a Parent Teacher Student Association Student Representative. A member of the school golf team, Porcheddu made first team all-district as well as Freshman of the Year. She was also a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Arabic Club and the National Charity League. Her volunteer activities include delivering meals to homebound senior citizens through Meals on Wheels, and serving Relay for Life and a local food pantry. She is interested in international studies, Arabic language and political science.
Knight, a homeschooled student, received an award for the top short story at Veritas Press Scholars Academy and the gold cup for her solo piano performance for the Mississippi Federation of Musicians. She also opened for violinist Gil Shaham during a performance at the Canon Center in Memphis. Her community service activities include playing violin for Martha’s Manor and other nursing homes, and her interests include foreign languages, physics and cinema production.
Pittman, also a homeschooled student, was a member of the Ballet Mississippi student company, with a leading role in the annual “Nutcracker” and spring performances. She was also a member of the National Honor Society, placed second in Mississippi Mock Trial Competition and was a participant in the Lott Leadership Institute Summer College Program. A volunteer with the Book Buddy program at local public schools, Pittman is majoring in international studies.
Thrasher graduated from Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School, where he served as vice president of the Jefferson County IBC’s National French Honor Society, president of the National Technical Honor Society and chair of events of the National Art Honor Societies. He was a Questbridge Scholar as well as a Superintendent Super Scholar. A volunteer with Sawyerville Day Camp, he is interested in biology, chemistry and French.
Hasley graduated from West Union School. She is a member of the Beta Honors Club and was recognized for her academic achievements in public speaking, accounting and anatomy and physiology. Her service activities include volunteering at the Betty McNeely Myrtle Library, Baptist Memorial Hospital in New Albany and LeBonheur Hospital in Memphis. She is majoring in psychology with a focus towards medicine.
Palmer graduated from Ridgeland High School, served as president of Mu Alpha Theta and was the drum captain of the RHS Marching Band and Indoor Percussion Ensemble. A member of the National Honor Society, he was selected as one of Portico’s 25 Students Who Will Change the World and a Blitz 16 Scholar. Palmer’s community service includes Operation Christmas Child, Webster Animal Shelter and Stewpot Ministries. His interests include biology, chemistry and molecular biology.
Scott graduated from Clarksville High School. A Tennessee Scholar, she received the highest academic honors award, graduating with distinction and on the All-A Honor Roll. A member of the cross-country/track and field, she participated in the Hope Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She volunteered as a translator with Pennies from Heaven and was a youth leader with Back Yard Bible Club. Her interests are secondary education, mathematics and Spanish.
Smith graduated from Picayune Memorial High School as a Superintendent Scholar on the All-A Honor Roll. She served as president, vice president and representative in the Student Council and was a member of the National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America. Her community service includes senior mentoring, service projects for the elderly and helping with cleanup after Hurricane Isaac. Her interests include international studies, Spanish and sociology.
McLeod graduated from Heritage High School and was a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club. She received the academic excellence award and was selected as a National Merit recommended Scholar and student of the month in English. A member of the Liberty Belles varsity dance team, she was selected as the Universal Dance Association Drill Down Champion and All-American. Her volunteer activities include working at Littleton Adventist Hospital NICU and Pediatric Emergency Car and as a Race for the Cure volunteer. She plans to pursue a career in medicine.
Shannon, a National Merit Finalist, graduated from Madison Central High School, where she was recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction for having the highest average in AP chemistry, AP English III, AP U.S. History, AP World History, Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus. A member of the National Honor Society, Interact Club and Beta Club, she was selected as a National Merit Semifinalist and she received the Citizenship Award and the Scholastic Art & Writing Award. Her community service activities include Relay for Life, Angel Tree and His Heart turkey delivery. Her interests include engineering, pharmacy and business.
For more information about the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, visit http://www.honors.olemiss.edu/.