May 17-23, 2002
Back Issues
Speaking on the Lawn
Reserve a 2002 graduation video
Finding cultural identity in deafness and teaching
Six students get grad school boost

Collins takes on international human rights

Student first at U.Va. to win Scottish fellowship
Sullivan Award winners honored
Healing, unity student’s passions
Award also goes to faculty member
Graduates have been pillars of U.Va. student self-governance
College is time of spiritual, intellectual growth
Adult degree program graduates first students
Graduation: Did you know?
Nursing student answers
9-11 call
Students will have their day in the sun
Graduate rallies volunteers to bring arts to schools
Fifteen dozen cookies and a law degree
Wise student aspires to career helping students in higher ed
The beauty of Antarctica beckons, but graduate’s passion is teaching
Six students get grad school boost
winners of Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff
These students are among the first group of Jack Kent Cooke Scholars: (l to r) Sarah Hobeika, Anita Gupta, Bryan Maxwell, Danna Weiss and Esther Huang. Not pictured is James Puckett.

By Anne Bromley

Six students who will don mortarboards and walk down the Lawn May 19 already have capped their careers at U.Va. being among the first 50 winners of Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships.

The recipients — Anita Gupta, Sarah Hobeika, Esther Huang, Bryan Maxwell, James Puckett and Danna Weiss — will pursue graduate studies without worrying about finances next year, thanks to the awards of up to $50,000.

For this inaugural year of the scholarships, the winners were chosen from the Virginia, Washington and Maryland region, whether residents or students. The criteria include academic excellence, exceptional promise, integrity and community service, according to Nicole Hurd, director of U.Va.’s College Fellowships Office.

“This is probably the most generous scholarship out there,” Hurd said, and it can be renewed for five years, totaling as much as $300,000.

Danna Weiss is one of three Americans accepted into the University of Notre Dame’s international master’s program at the Kroc Institute for Peace Studies. She has interned with the Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program, focusing on the Sudan civil war, and has been active in University Mediation Services.

As a second-year student, she won a Harrison Award for Undergraduate Research to conduct a study of the Talmud. She has traveled to Jerusalem to interview Jewish women scholars.

“Overall, I’d like to enter into the field of international conflict resolution and preventative diplomacy with an emphasis on religious conflict in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Weiss, who’s planning to use her fellowship to pursue two M.A. degrees and a Ph.D.

An Echols scholar, Bryan Maxwell combines his interest in literature with medicine. The political and social thought student will remain at U.Va. next year to pursue a master’s degree as part of the new B.A./M.A. program in English, then go to Stanford Medical School. Eventually he hopes to practice either academic pediatric surgery or emergency medicine.

Maxwell has already conducted research on ethics in AIDS treatment. His distinguished majors thesis focused on ethical questions surrounding drug companies’ patents on HIV/ AIDS drugs.

“I argue, essentially, that public health should trump intellectual property as an ethically motivating concern for policy makers,” he said.

Esther Huang is another Echols scholar who wants to become a doctor. She will spend the summer in Taiwan teaching in mission camps before heading to Harvard Medical School this fall.

While at U.Va., she worked in the lab of Dr. Robert Carey, dean of the Medical School, as a Harrison research scholar.

“I hope to specialize in a field where I can interact with patients in a clinical setting while investigating molecular mechanisms for the disease in a laboratory, working to develop better treatments or therapies,” Huang said.

Anita Gupta, an Echols Scholar who majored in biology and minored in Studies in Women and Gender, will go to Vanderbilt Medical School. She plans to go into pediatrics and practice either in a rural underserved area or abroad.

Gupta was a resident adviser last year and served as chief of staff for Student Council this year. She is a volunteer EMT, a certified health care triage worker with the Free Clinic and a sexual assault counselor.

“[Those experiences] will be invaluable” working with patients and families, she said.

Sarah Hobeika is another Cooke scholar who proves that negative stereotypes about Generation X don’t necessarily fit. She ought to know — her thesis for the politics honors program is on Generation X and politics.

“I analyzed the phenomenon that today’s young people are highly involved in civic life yet highly uninvolved in politics,” she said.

An honor adviser and student volunteer who helped five Afghan women resettle in the U.S. after fleeing the Taliban, Hobeika will attend U.Va. Law School this fall.
James Puckett also will attend U.Va. Law School. He’s considering public interest law or teaching law.

“It’s a really incredible opportunity, because it’s rare to get a scholarship for professional school. I’ll have more freedom in making career choices,” he said.

Puckett majored in Spanish linguistics and likes to travel. He graduated a semester early and toured Europe this spring.

Cooke, the wealthy media mogul who owned the Washington Redskins, never went to college but specified that an education foundation be set up with his fortune after his death. He died in 1997.


© Copyright 2002 by the Rector and Visitors
of the University of Virginia

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