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Student Awards Roundup

Two Win Rhodes Scholarships

Aryn Frazier (Col ’17, left) and Lauren Jackson (Col ’17) Dan Addison

Holed up in separate cities on the final day of a grueling interview process in November, Aryn Frazier (Col ’17) and Lauren Jackson (Col ’17) texted each another from Chicago and Washington, D.C., as they anxiously waited to hear if they had won one of academia’s most prestigious honors. Frazier got the good news first; about an hour later it was Jackson’s turn. The UVA fourth-years, who had become friendly while studying in London during the summer of 2015, were two of 32 Americans named 2017 Rhodes scholars.

Starting in October at the University of Oxford in England, Frazier will pursue a master’s in comparative politics; Jackson will seek one in international relations.

Frazier, a Silver Spring, Maryland, native, says her experiences at UVA as president and political action chair of the Black Student Alliance make her want to have a deeper understanding of how people form their political ideologies and act on them. “I think that’s the only way to get rid of some of that tension” in the country, she says.

At Oxford, Jackson hopes to delve into how media affect foreign policy and public opinion—an interest she says was piqued by growing up Mormon in Little Rock, Arkansas. “I was always attuned to media representation because many of my evangelical or Southern Baptist friends—all they knew about Mormons was what they heard about from sensationalized portrayals of the [Mitt] Romney campaign or TV shows,” she says. “I was constantly aware of how my faith was being portrayed publicly, and it made me attentive to inaccurate representation of minority groups around the world.”

Frazier and Jackson are Virginia’s 52nd and 53rd Rhodes scholars. Past scholars include famed historian and author Stringfellow Barr (Col 1916); UVA professor of politics Larry Sabato (Col ’74); UVA English professor Jahan Ramazani (Col ’82); and pastor Brad R. Braxton (Col ’91).

A UVA First: Three Marshall Scholars

From left, William Henagan (Col ’16, Com ’17),  Abraham Axler (Col ’17) and
Sarah Koch (Col ’17) Dan Addison

For the first time, UVA had three students earn Marshall Scholarships in the same year. In November, William Henagan (Col ’16, Com ’17), Abraham Axler (Col ’17) and Sarah Koch (Col ’17) received the coveted accolade. MIT was the only school to have more recipients than UVA. Across the country, just 40 Marshall Scholarships were awarded. “I think we should be extremely proud of this,” says Andrus Ashoo, associate director of UVA’s Center for Undergraduate Excellence. “I don’t know that we’ll ever have three again; it’s a big deal.” Marshall scholars can study at any university in the United Kingdom.


From left, Jessica Amick (Col ’19),  Golda Houndoh (Col ’19) and Nadjad Nikabou-Salifou (Col ’19) Jessica Strang

Hannah Graham Memorial Award recipients Jessica Amick (Col ’19), Golda Houndoh (Col ’19) and Nadjad Nikabou-Salifou (Col ’19) are headed to Africa. Nikabou-Salifou and Houndoh will conduct a health impact study in Lomé, Togo, while Amick’s study will focus on maternal mortality and morbidity in Rwanda. Nikabou-Salifou and Houndoh are originally from Lomé and still have family there. “We both applied [for the award] thinking that maybe one of us would get it,” says Houndoh, “but the Grahams pulled a funny one on us and gave it to us both, and we are both just so happy to be able to give back.”

The award honors Hannah Graham, a UVA student who was murdered in 2014, and goes to students who share her commitment to service.