Page 1

The Johnson Scholarship Program

New Voices Introducing the Class of 2014

Washington and Lee University

the johnson scholarship program 2010 Leadership is a central concept at Washington and Lee University, and we have a strong record of alumni who exemplify that ideal—among them, Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell ’29, ’31L, Sen. John Warner ’49, journalist Roger Mudd ’50, writer Tom Wolfe ’51, Nobel prize winner Dr. Joseph Goldstein ’62, and FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker ’90. The University’s Johnson Scholarship Program focuses on developing young leaders, and it offers full financial support to students who demonstrate exceptional personal promise, regardless of their ability to afford tuition and other expenses. This year, W&L welcomes 34 Johnson Scholars to the campus and all the passions and perspectives they bring. Their voices will elevate classroom discussion, enrich community life and heighten the University’s sense of what is possible. They have a lot on their minds, as you will see on the following pages. W&L welcomes them into the ongoing campus conversation about leadership and the well-established W&L tradition of serving others as engaged citizens in a global and diverse society.

Students who have the intellect to excel and the selflessness to care should have the opportunity to lead.


On Leadership “The Johnson Scholarship is built around the emblematic theme of leadership and integrity. It is what has defined Washington and Lee. It is our legacy and our past. It will be our future.” Washington and Lee President Ken Ruscio is a W&L alumnus and distinguished scholar in the study of democratic theory and public policy. Throughout his career, Dr. Ruscio has held various positions at W&L, including dean of freshmen; professor of politics; and associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Ecnomics, and Politics.

As someone who sometimes says too much, I am impressed by President Calvin Coolidge’s style of speech, or lack thereof. With “Silent Cal” in mind, I learned that a few words can go a long way. Simplicity really can be the best option.

Emmy DiGiovanni

Robert Gerbo

Father Ryan High School Franklin, Tenn.

Katie Driest North Mecklenburg Senior High School Davidson, N.C.

I chaired a committee at Boys Nation charged with considering bills related to ethics and administration. I began poorly, attempting to influence decisions brought before the committee. I soon discovered that leadership is not about personal recognition, but about hearing and understanding the voice of the people you serve.

University High School Morgantown, W.Va.

After watching young girls struggle with eating disorders, I sought to proactively find a way to prevent these destructive attitudes. By researching and understanding the underlying influences that result in the mindset of eating disorders, I used that knowledge to organize a workshop for pre-teen Girl Scouts to raise self-esteem so they will not fall victim to an eating disorder.

A leader is someone who wishes to improve his or her surroundings, finds a way to do so and then calls for others to help. Our founding fathers believed that when called upon to build the New Order for the Ages, citizens would gladly put away their petty trivialities and cooperate to improve their nation.

Thomas Groesbeck Kalamazoo Central High School Kalamazoo, Mich.


Throughout its history,

Washington and Lee Univer-

I have known a great leader for four years. He is not a general, an emperor, a president or a revolutionary, but just an ordinary man—our bandleader. Year after year, he has a way of seeing greatness in everyone and bringing it to the surface.

sity has been shaped and advanced in its mission by generous gifts. The school’s first major endowment, George Washington’s 1796 donation of James River Canal stock, valued at $20,000, was the largest gift to any educational institution at that time. The Johnson gift of $100 million in 2007, endowing scholarships, faculty positions, and programming with a focus on leadership, affirms the University’s historic values and extends its reach farther and wider than ever before.

Douglas Hilbert Whippany Park High School Whippany, N.J.

I helped co-found a non-profit organization, Playing For Others, and I’ve seen it grow from a group of 15 passionate teens to 75 inspired volunteers changing lives of children with disabilities and their families, while raising $65,000 for local charities.

Emily Hudson Myers Park High School Charlotte, N.C.

Beyond funding the scholarships,

the $100 million John-

son gift supports a number of initiatives that further W&L’s commitment to leadership education. The funds endow two new professorships, both with an emphasis on leadership; establish a series of lectures and symposia designed to enrich campus dialogue and illuminate contemporary questions and issues in leadership; and fund a summer program supporting 30 rising

Annelise Madison

I learned about leadership by running in circles. A teammate told me, “All you have to do is remember the four Ps—one for each lap of the race: Push, Pace, Position and Pray.” For me, running is the great metaphor of my leadership ability, because I get out of it what I put into it. Successful running requires focus, dedication and rest—as does successful leading.

Norris High School Roca, Neb.

seniors annually in pursuing internships or projects that allow them to explore leadership and to develop their own potential. Heirs to a long tradition of leadership,

the Johnson schol-

ars follow in the footsteps of the many W&L graduates among the top ranks of business, journalism, medicine, public service, and almost every other field. Twenty-seven have served in the U.S. Senate, 67 have served in the U.S. House, and 31 have served as governors. Four have served as Supreme Court justices and seven have been American Bar Association presidents. Forty-six have gone on to become college or university presidents.

Mark Sowinski Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School Greensboro, N.C.

John Adams was a great leader not only because he served others and championed the cause of independence, but because he was willing to take great personal risks. After the Boston Massacre, he risked his reputation and legal career in order to act on his belief that everyone has the right to legal counsel and a fair trial. This cemented his reputation as an honorable man and an advocate of justice and liberty.

On Service and Self


The Johnson Program has a definite impact on how and what I teach. Although my courses focus mainly on entrepreneurship, I emphasize the role leadership, integrity, ethics, and honor play in successfully launching a new business venture.  After all, our goal is to inspire our students to accomplish great things as they represent the next generation of great leaders to graduate from our University. Jeff Shay, the Rupert H. Johnson Jr. Professor in Entrepreneurship and Leadership I was elected student government president, but I didn’t get there overnight. Prior to my victory, I lost three student government elections. I decided to become more aware of the makeup of my school, to take an interest in other people’s priorities and broaden my group of friends.

Campbell Burr

Erin Dengler

Bethesda Chevy Chase High School Chevy Chase, Md.

Rocky Mount Academy Rocky Mount, N.C. Opening a book is like ripping open a birthday present that has been wrapped inside 10 boxes. The seeker keeps tearing and ripping and shredding, only to find that what she really wants is out of reach. While those who have not experienced the quest might not understand, the work is worth the effort.

Hillary Cooper Homeschooled Greenwood, S.C.

Working as a counselor at the Vineyard International Camp, coaching a swim team, and volunteering at my church have given me numerous opportunities to befriend and mentor children from many different walks of life. Knowing how important my mentors have been to me, I take great pride in the relationships I have built with children in need and the positive impact I have made in their lives.

Monica Devlin Bronxville High School Bronxville, N.Y.

For five years I made a weekly trip to the Elinor Martin Residence, a home for single mothers and their babies. While the moms met with a social worker, I took care of the babies. Most of the moms were about my age, but they seemed older because they had a completely different set of responsibilities and pressures. I imagine it would have been easy for them to fall into despair. But it is hope, not despair, that permeates the residence.


Philip Dishuck

I’m a swimmer, not a cyclist, and 17 was much too old for bicycle accidents to be a weekly occurrence. But I was biking only to improve my swimming, and my balance has improved over time. My experiences on a bike translate easily to all areas of my life and remind me that even when things go horribly wrong in the beginning, with perseverance, any obstacle can be overcome.

Holy Spirit High School Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Ji Hyun Min

The Miller School Seongnami-Si, Republic of Korea

Having been colorblind, I’ve never had any other frame of reference for color than I do now. My ability to see differently reveals a unique facet of whatever I look at. If we all had the same perceptions and opinions on everything, wouldn’t that be infinitely more bleak and bland than looking at the world with only two colors instead of your ideal three?

Jordan Kearns

A girl in my chemistry class asked me to tutor her for an upcoming midterm. We met three days a week to study the periodic table, balance chemical equations and work on chemical formulas. The weeks of intense work led to a 98 percent on the exam. This was the moment of our triumph.

Alina Pankova

West Jessamine High School Nicholasville, Ky.

The Miller School Sevastopol, Ukraine

In middle school, I went on a mission trip to Birmingham, Ala. It was there that I not only realized the obstacles that many people had to overcome, but I also rediscovered myself. I learned that being like my peers, for the sake of acceptance, wasn’t necessarily a good thing. I refuse to be an average person living an average life and doing average things.

Garrett Koller

Spruce Creek High School Ormond Beach, Fla.

I have never been the most patient of individuals, a characteristic that perpetuated my voracious reading habit. I’m impatient to find out what will happen on that next page, in the next chapter. As a preteen, this quality caused me many late nights, unable to turn off the bedside lamp and close the covers on the latest novel.

Crawford Rhyne

Oklahoma School of Science and Math Sand Springs, Okla.

Joseph Liu

I have always been small for my age, and because of my appearance, people seemed to treat me like a baby, always assuming that I was gentle, meek and quiet. When I was participating in school activities, such as volleyball, newspaper and student government, I felt the need to surpass everyone’s expectations and prove myself. Because of my attitude and drive, my friends started calling me Mighty Min.

Gaston Day School Gastonia, N.C.

The basic premise of weightlifting is to take a ridiculous, dangerous amount of weight that the human body was not built to handle, pick it up and heave it directly over your head in a stunningly precarious position. But perhaps there is some insight to be found in the dusty corners of the weight room: life will treat me the same way that iron does. Both will always be pushing against me, testing me, judging me.

Ellie Stoops Visitation Academy St. Louis, Mo.

As a young patient, I took a gamble with my health by choosing not to address my scoliosis. I was angry and resentful of doctors who should have diagnosed my condition years earlier. My visits to the hospital allowed me to meet many physicians, all with different approaches. The things I’ve learned from them have shaped my idea of the kind of doctor I would like to become—specifically to understand the difference between treating a patient and treating a disease.

On World Issues


The Johnson Lecture Series brings national and international leaders in business, politics, science, art and the humanities to discuss issues of importance to the nation, to the world and to the students who will lead it. The series has hosted prize-winning writers, experts on the economy, prominent public servants, successful entrepreneurs, and actors. In the years ahead, the fund will grow and become an important source for campus enrichment that will allow W&L to contribute to national debates about fundamental issues in leadership and integrity. Johnson Program Director and Associate Provost Bob Strong has taught at W&L since 1989, serving as politics department head for 16 years. His research focuses on the presidency and modern American foreign policy, and his published work includes books on Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter.

One of the peculiar faculties of man is his inability to tell the absolute truth. For whatever reason, he insists on warping it to fit his opinions. Until we reach a consensus to determine the exact nature of truth and humans can be unbiased in its execution, we shall continue to add a small part of ourselves to every fact with which we come in contact.

Ryan Doherty

Zain Raza

Morristown-Hamblen High School Morristown, Tenn.

Clark Gairing

Canterbury School of Florida St. Petersburg, Fla.

Despite the dystopian ending, 1984, by George Orwell, is one of my favorite books. The book sparked my interest in politics. The description of a massive, unstoppable government that tirelessly observes its subjects showed the danger of exchanging rights (such as privacy) for security. It made me realize that we engage the system, or our own voices will be excluded from government.

Edmond Memorial High School Edmond, Okla.

There is widespread controversy over stem cell research, particularly the use of human embryonic stem cells, but new methods have been found to harvest stem cells without killing human embryos. Although ethical questions always must be asked, the potential benefit stem cells will have on treating human disease make them one of the greatest scientific advancements of the 20th century.

Although there are laws that say people of all abilities were created equal, that doesn’t mean that they were treated with dignity. At a post office with not even a ramp, I went with my mother and other people who used wheelchairs to protest. This was the start of my informal education, the one teaching me to be a responsible citizen.

Maureen Nalepa Shaler Area High School Pittsburgh, Pa.


“In its first three years, the Johnson Scholarship Program has had enormous impact. W&L grants assist 46 percent of our first-year students. The Johnson program draws worldwide attention because it seeks in its recipients the characteristics held dear by this community: scholarship, leadership, integrity and civility.” William Hartog, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

Samantha Rosier

Because I live in a place with such a large Jewish population, I don’t expect to come across prejudice about my own religion. I believe my religion is beautiful and I love to teach others about it. My sister and I invite friends over for Hanukkah to play dreidel and eat latkes. It has become a yearly tradition. I can’t get rid of all the prejudice in the world, but I can do my best to learn from other people.

Darby Shuler

The high school graduation rate for South Carolina is between 55 and 60 percent, and the academic patterns leading up to the high dropout rate begin as early as elementary school. My mother and I started an after-school reading club to help alleviate the situation. Our generation is responsible for improving the lives of Americans living in poverty—ensuring education is the first step.

Coral Glades High School Coral Springs, Fla.

Richland Northeast High School Columbia, S.C.

I fear America is in great danger of losing its understanding of the beauty and necessity of fine arts, particularly classical music. It took me 14 years for its value to sink in, but now I appreciate the beautiful way in which instrumental music portrays emotions, opinions and stories.

Haley Smith Asheville High School Asheville, N.C.

Alvin Thomas Niles North High School Skokie, Ill.

overall, The class of 2014

I spent hours doing research on the regenerative abilities of Zebrafish and on the effect of electromagnetic fields on C. elegans in the hopes of shining a light on the mysteries surrounding stem cells. I presented my work at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, where I became quite excited for the future of science, engineering and medicine. I want to play a role in helping find solutions for global health problems and create a better world through a healthy, ordered global community.

includes 32 class or student body

presidents or vice presidents, 55 publication editors, 189 varsity team captains, 29 Eagle Scouts or Gold Award Recipients, 82 students with significant community service experience, 42 with significant international experience, and 44 who are the first in their families to attend college. The class also includes pilots, black belts, entrepreneurs, musicians, congressional pages and debate champions.


On Learning Vincent Kim

There are serious inequities in the U.S. educational system. Usually the most disadvantaged students are the focus, and the solution is to get everyone to at least a basic level, which is the philosophy of the No Child Left Behind Act. Unfortunately, advanced classes are often the first to go in budget cuts, and the potential of America’s talented students is crippled.

Cranbrook Kingswood School Grand Blanc, Mich.

Katie Hintz

While there are a number of disparities in the American school system, the system as a whole is not ineffectual. An individual’s role is the most important determinant of his or her success. There are countless students who do succeed, even in less than optimal learning environments, because they chose to take advantage of what is available to them.

Weymouth High School East Weymouth, Mass.

Society as a whole needs to begin placing a greater value on learning if any institutional changes are to be truly effective. The American model has some positive attributes, and I believe people should think carefully before pronouncing it dead.

Lorraine Simonis Mercersburg Academy Philadelphia, Pa.

Today’s high school education is based on an outdated system, where for 12 years students are taught to regurgitate information. Colleges teach students to think, and if high school is preparation for college, then it makes sense for high schools to recognize creativity.

Daniel Hsu

Victoria Van Natten

Plano East Senior High School Richardson, Texas

Katie Jarrell Liberty High School Dry Creek, W.Va.

Towson High School Towson, Md.

My high school doesn’t have the resources to offer AP, honors or advanced courses. But I have compensated for this through hard work, determination and the right attitude. The journey has given me a strong appreciation for the few remarkable teachers I have had and the knowledge that hard work produces results and accomplishments.

Everyone hears about the public schools that do not have enough books and that have disintegrating ceiling tiles, poor water quality and serious asbestos problems. I am not a blind optimist who refuses to acknowledge the problems in our nation’s public schools, but I would like to show the critics the energy in one of my Advanced Placement classes, where enthusiasm for learning is crucial. For those willing to make the effort, the opportunities for education and extracurricular enrichment are plentiful.

of the 2,177 applicants for the johnson scholarship,

210 were

selected as finalists on the basis of their potential to contribute to the intellectual and civic life of the Washington and Lee community and to the world at large. Factors weighed included academic record, writing samples, teacher references, and records of leadership, citizenship, and involvement in non-academic activities. The finalists were invited to campus for interviews with faculty, student leaders, and administrators; their selection was truly a group effort. Our entire community welcomes them to W&L.


Johnson Opportunity Grants In 2010, 12 rising juniors and seniors received Johnson Opportunity Grants to support internships and independent research projects all across the country and around the world. The projects covered a wide range of topics—observing heart surgery, human rights in Ireland, refugee education in Israel, ethnography in Gambia and sustainable development in Costa Rica. Here are excerpts from the students’ final reports, and you can see all the project profiles at Christine Balistreri ’11

was a medical intern at the Wichanzao Clinic in Peru, where she assisted local doctors while gaining an understanding of health care systems in developing nations. “On a normal day, I head directly to the clinic, where my duties fluctuate from being a nurse, a dental assistant, a pharmacy assistant or an aide in the office. I typically spend half my time in triage, where I take the patients’ personal information, including family history, medical history, immunizations, address, age, pulse, blood pressure, temperature, height and weight—all in Spanish. The other half of my time I spend assisting Angel, the dentist, upstairs. This happens to be one of my favorite parts of the morning. Working side by side with him has been the best way for me to feel at ease while practicing my Spanish and to impart upon him basic medical vocabulary in English that he needs to learn for his upcoming conference in the U.S.”

Francis Cullo ’11

conducted ethnographic research in Africa in the Gambia. “Each of the students in Berefet worked on their own, individual ethnographic research project. I studied the way children think about, and view, their home and their village—particularly how they represented those views in drawings of their compounds. Most Gambians, and all of the villagers in Berefet, live in extended-family arrangements where several homes lie behind one fence-line. There are kitchens, bathrooms, trees and shady spots shared among the family. I was most surprised by how willing the Gambian people were to help. From our amazing language instructors to the villagers themselves, everyone was willing to help in any way they could, even if they did not understand what I was asking. People were eager to welcome me into their homes to share a meal or a glass of ataaya (tea), even on visits unrelated to my project.”


Michael Kuntz ’11

observed heart surgeries and conducted medical research at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, in Houston, where he worked under the direction of Dr. Jim Livesay ’69. “The unpredictability of life here makes each day interesting. One morning, I came in expecting to watch a bypass surgery and ended up watching a heart transplant—easily one of the most fascinating surgeries I have seen. With the patient heartless on the table, the surgeon used the donor heart to quickly review heart anatomy with the room’s students. The coronary arteries were perfectly visible wrapping around the outside; the donor heart looked beautiful. Another day I expected to leave by 6:30 p.m. I was still in the OR at 11 p.m. A patient had come in with an esophageal perforation, and stomach contents were filling their chest, requiring immediate surgery.”

Amanda Micossi ’11

spent the summer as a volunteer with the Refugee Status Determination team at the African Refugee Development Center, an Israeli nongovernmental organization located in Tel Aviv. “My day starts at 8 a.m. I roll out of bed and immediately turn on the fan, since there’s no air conditioning and the temperature hasn’t gotten below 90 degrees since I arrived. I hurry out my door and walk to a shelter run by my organization. As far as I can tell, everyone in this particular shelter is from Eritrea, a troubled nation in Eastern Africa. I arrive and meet Mirkonan, a 19-year-old refugee recovering from a brain surgery that left him half-paralyzed. Together, we go to a physical therapy session, where I learn the exercises as Mirkonan does them so we can practice later at the shelter.”

Annie Smith ’11

interned in the marketing and advertising division of designer brand Kate Spade New York. “Throughout the day, I work with style editors to help choose the most appropriate clothing, shoes or accessories that will complement their themed photo spreads. I collect these samples, pack them up and get them ready to be picked up by a messenger. In a typical day, I will send and receive about 30 sample requests. I keep track of all these samples by recording them in the Fashion GPS system. Between sample requests and meetings, I spend a significant amount of time researching the areas in Florida, Naples, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Tampa, where Kate Spade has wholesale and retail markets. I use residents’ letters to the editor, as well as articles from local newspapers, magazines and blogs to garner a deeper insight into the Florida consumer mindset beyond demographic and quantitative information. My research helps the marketing team understand the nuances of the lifestyles by market.”

— the class of 2014 —

The Johnson Scholarship Program has drawn widespread attention to Washington and Lee from the world’s top student leaders. The 6,627 students who applied for admission represented 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and 93 countries. In its academic record, citizenship and leadership experience, the 472-member class of 2014 is among W&L’s most accomplished—thus far. history

Distinctive Features

Need-based aid

The ninth-oldest school in the country, Washington and Lee University recognizes and embodies the direct contributions of two of the most influential figures in American history. George Washington’s 1796 gift of James River Canal stock ensured the fledgling school’s survival; Robert E. Lee’s presidency, 1865–70, brought innovation and national recognition to the school.

Honor System—entirely studentrun; based on the fundamental principle that students attending Washington and Lee will not lie, cheat, steal, or otherwise violate community trust.

To ensure that a W&L education is available for all deserving students regardless of their financial background, all admitted students applying for financial aid by the relevant deadline (see datesanddownloads) will have their institutionally determined financial need fully met with grants, not loans.


Undergraduate—1,759 students from 49 states (85 percent from outside Virginia), representing citizenship in 50 countries Ratio of men to women is 50:50 Ethnic minorities: 11 percent The School of Law—400 students faculty

Of the 182 undergraduate faculty members, 95 percent hold doctorates or terminal degrees. The student-faculty ratio is 9:1. The average class size is 16. Twentytwo percent of classes have fewer than 10 students, 90 percent have fewer than 25 students, and 97 percent have fewer than 30 students.

Office of Admissions

Curriculum—W&L is the only leading liberal arts college to have a nationally accredited journalism program or a nationally accredited business school, and it is one of the few offering an engineering program. Speaking tradition—as a matter of civility and mutual consideration, members of the W&L community say “hello” to one another— whether passing on the historic Colonnade on the way to class or meeting in the dining hall of the new Elrod Commons. Academic calendar—12-12-4: two 12-week terms; one fourweek spring term to allow for focused study, research, travel, or internships. financial aid, scholarships

W&L will spend more than $29 million on aid in 2010-11; 46 percent of first-year students receive grant assistance from W&L.

Lexington, Virginia 24450-2116

Johnson scholars

The prestigious new Johnson Scholarship Program provides awards of at least tuition, room, and board for up to 44 students in each class on the basis of academic achievement and leadership potential. More information about the Johnson Scholarship Program and the other components of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity is available at contact us

Washington and Lee University Office of Admissions Lexington, VA 24450-2116 (540) 458-8710 (540) 458-8062 fax

(540) 458-8710

In compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and all other applicable non-discrimination laws, Washington and Lee University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran’s status, or genetic information in its educational programs and activities, admissions, and with regard to employment. Inquiries may be directed to the Provost, June Aprille, Washington Hall, (540) 458-8418, who is designated by the University to coordinate compliance efforts and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX, as well as those under Section 504 and other applicable non-discrimination laws. Inquiries may also be directed to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education.

Johnson Report 2010  

Introducing Washington and Lee's Johnson Scholars in the Class of 2014

Johnson Report 2010  

Introducing Washington and Lee's Johnson Scholars in the Class of 2014