Honors College Student Named Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow

Elizabeth Boyer among 16 chosen for prestigious summer program at George Washington's estate

Elizabeth Boyer, a junior economics major from Houston, is the first University of Mississippi student chosen to be a Mt. Vernon Leadership Fellow. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – A student in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi has been selected as a 2018 Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow.

Elizabeth Boyer of Houston, a junior economics major with a minor in intelligence and security studies, is among 16 university students nationwide chosen for the prestigious six-week summer institute at the estate of President George Washington. She is the first Ole Miss student to ever be admitted to the Mount Vernon program.

“My reaction was a mixture of emotions, but it was mainly composed of relief that my hard work had finally paid off,” Boyer said. “So often, we’re told that if we work hard for something and want it, we’ll get it. This is one of the first times I’ve been able to experience that.”

At Mount Vernon, Boyer will study Washington and the qualities he possessed that made him such a great leader. Because the nation’s first president was known for making change, fellows are encouraged to complete a capstone project on something they would like to see changed in their community.

“I would like to gear my capstone project towards education in Mississippi and the opportunities available for college students, specifically in making resources more available so that students can better succeed academically and professionally,” Boyer said.

During her fellowship, she will meet with some of the nation’s top leaders, engage with other fellows on leadership styles and skills, and collaborate with her assigned capstone mentor.

UM administrators praised Boyer’s honor.

“We are so pleased to have a student as stellar and accomplished as Elizabeth chosen for this distinguished, highly-selective opportunity,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “It is quite an honor and recognition of her leadership skills, her commitment to education and her passion for making a difference.

“This achievement is a wonderful example of the academic excellence we uphold at the University of Mississippi.”

“We are extremely proud of Elizabeth’s accomplishments and super-excited that she is our university’s first Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College. “She has become a leader on the national stage, and we look forward to watching her succeed in the years to come.”

Boyer credits Ashleen Williams, her honors instructor, mentor and adviser, for steering her toward applying for the leadership fellows program.

“Liza sets an incredible example for other young people, especially young women, in Mississippi and I feel recognition through this award is a step in improving her confidence and recognizing her achievements,” said Williams, a senior Barksdale fellow at the university.

“It’s rewarding to see your students recognized for their dedication, leadership and academic potential. This award feels like a milestone in her journey and will contribute to her ability to continue accomplishing great things.”

Boyer’s achievement attests to both her own academic excellence and leadership ability and that of the institution, said Tim Dolan, director of the university’s office of national scholarship advisement.

“The Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows’ recognition of Liza’s accomplishments is a testament to the exceptional instruction and advising the University of Mississippi provides its students,” Dolan said. “I always encourage students to find opportunities to grow intellectually, both in and out of the classroom, and Liza has built an impressive resume by following her academic passions.”

Boyer is a graduate of Houston High School. Upon graduation from UM, she hopes to return to her hometown and make a difference in its conditions.

“I would like to know that I am making some sort of positive impact in my community and on those around me,” she said. “I believe that the Mount Vernon program will help me advance these goals.”

For more information about the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, go to http://www.honors.olemiss.edu/. For additional details about the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows Program, visit http://www.mountvernon.org/leadershipfellows/.