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Emory announces 2024 Bobby Jones Scholars
Group photo

Four outstanding Emory College students — (from l-r) Grace Johnson, Amelia Tamez, Shreyas Rajagopal and Amelia Andujar — have been selected to be Bobby Jones Scholars at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

— Kay Hinton, Emory Photo/Video

Emory University has selected four exceptional seniors for study in Scotland next year through the prestigious Robert T. Jones Jr. Scholarship program.

Known as Bobby Jones Scholars, Amelia Andujar, Grace Johnson, Shreyas Rajagopal and Amelia Tamez will complete a year of interdisciplinary study at the University of St Andrews as part of a scholarship exchange in honor of the legendary amateur golfer and scholar who attended Emory’s School of Law.

More than 400 young scholars from Emory and St Andrews have participated in the nearly 50-year-old program, which emphasizes academic excellence, exemplary character and integrity. 

The selection from this year’s 37 applicants was especially difficult given the wealth of ability and accomplishments from a variety of experiences at Emory, says Joanne Brzinski, Emory College senior associate dean for undergraduate education and director of the Bobby Jones Program.

“The four students who were selected gave compelling reasons why this postgraduate experience was important for them,” Brzinski says. “We feel that Amelia, Grace, Amelia and Shreyas will represent Emory well at St Andrews University, and the experience will contribute to their professional and personal growth.”

The students may take courses without seeking a degree, but as in previous years, the latest Bobby Jones scholars plan to pursue master’s degrees that augment their Emory research and coursework.

Meet the Bobby Jones Scholars

Amelia Andujar

The contrast between Andujar’s upbringing in the Dominican Republic and her college years at Emory sparked her interest in social inequality.

As a double major in sociology and film and media, she applied her comparative mindset while developing the skills to understand the social structures that maintain and can exacerbate disparities.

She honed her qualitative skills working with Emory sociologist Irene Browne on a project analyzing the experiences of Dominican and Mexican immigrants in Atlanta, then worked on an Emory AI.Humanity project contributing to a systematic review of racial biases coded into near-infrared medical technology, such as forehead thermometers. She recently completed an honors thesis analyzing the legitimation processes of Dominican alternative musicians locally and abroad. 

Andujar also helped create the first TEDxYouth in Santo Domingo, later becoming a director for TEDxEmory and the first female captain of the TNT Dance Crew. Professionally, she launched and led new programs at the Emory Center for Women, worked as a debate coach and translator for the New York City Urban Debate League and twice served as an intern in U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s Atlanta office.

Described by one recommender as “motivated both by intellectual and ethical passions,” Andujar plans to pursue a master’s in global social and political thought at St Andrews. She also plans to join the campus dance and Hispanic societies.

Her proposed master’s project — analyzing digitization policies and technological interventions within education systems in the Caribbean and Latin America — will lay the groundwork for a PhD in social policy and a career of research and policymaking in the field of education in the same region.

Grace Johnson

A Robert W. Woodruff Scholar and Oxford College graduate from South Carolina, Johnson created new mental health programs on both the Oxford and Atlanta campuses while also studying abroad in five countries.

Johnson, who graduated in December with a degree in human health and a minor in Spanish, launched and led a student mental health support group during her first semester at Oxford. She also promoted wellness events there as a Healthy Eagle peer educator.

After taking a semester off from school to address her own mental health needs, Johnson joined the Emory Emergency Medical Services (EMS) on the Atlanta campus. Rising to the rank of chief, she developed behavioral health and diversity training programs for nearly 90 volunteers while also overseeing emergency patient care.

Globally, she traveled to Cuba as part of a course investigating racial health disparities on the island and spent a summer in Spain as part of Emory’s Education Abroad program. Johnson also conducted comparative ethnographic research in Argentina, South Africa and Vietnam as part of the School for International Training Honors Program, producing what one recommender described as “nuanced ... critical readings.”

At St Andrews, Johnson will pursue a master’s in gender studies to develop a more in-depth understanding of gender inequality in health policy and programs. She also plans to join the campus touch rugby team, Sexpression charity and the Saints LGBT+ committee.

Johnson plans to use her ethnographic work as the basis of a research project examining gender in the linguistics of mental health and later pursue a PhD in medical anthropology. 

Shreyas Rajagopal

Rajagopal, whose family immigrated to Texas from India, chose a double major in chemistry and religion to learn both scientific and social theories about how the world works.

But it was as the Robert W. Woodruff Debate Scholar with the Barkley Forum for Debate, Deliberation and Dialogue — where Rajagopal has ranked among the top collegiate debaters in the country — that he interrogated how to turn that knowledge into serving the community.

Described by one recommender as an “intellectual sponge,” Rajagopal helped start the Program for Refugee Healthcare Literacy for Atlanta-area refugees while also volunteering with the Atlanta Urban Debate League and at several local hospitals in addition to working part-time.

He also served as a research assistant in former Emory chemist Jennifer Heemstra’s lab and as an undergraduate fellow at the Emory Global Diabetes Research Center, where his research focused on beta cell imaging in patients with type 2 diabetes. 

Rajagopal will pursue a master’s in global social and political thought at St Andrews, planning to conduct a comparative analysis of Scottish and American health care structures and decision-making systems. He also plans to volunteer at the St Andrews Community Hospital and become an active member of the St Andrews Union Debate Society and St Mary’s College Society of Theologians.

He plans to attend medical school after his year in Scotland, pursuing an MD and a career in health policy.

Amelia Tamez

Driven by what one recommender described as her passion and persistence, Tamez has carved a unique academic path combining paleontology, social justice and ancient history.

An environmental sciences major from Seattle, Tamez developed her scientific passion growing up with her grandmother, who was also an environmental scientist. She completed intensive internships with the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance and Captain Planet Foundation, where she helped grow, harvest and distribute community garden produce and develop environmental education programs, respectively.

Her study of Latin led to a minor in classical civilization, with a specific focus on ancient Rome. Attending Emory’s summer Art History in Italy program further inspired her to interrogate how ancient and early-modern environments relate to modern life. Tamez also attended Emory’s Biology in Australia program, contrasting her interest in classics with a passion for wildlife ecology.

Tamez is tying those experiences together with her honors thesis, an independent paleontological project investigating how trilobites (extinct marine arthropods) interacted and affected the environment as they moved from marine to intertidal zones more than 445 million years ago. She continued the project, which requires 3D modeling and GIS work, while serving her second year as a resident advisor and also representing Emory as one of the student delegates to the U.N. Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai.

At St Andrews, Tamez will pursue a master’s in research in earth and environmental sciences to study geology and earth systems in the birthplace of geoscience. She also plans to join the Geological, Arts and Hispanic societies on campus.

Tamez plans to apply her additional knowledge of earth systems to a PhD program when she returns from Scotland, for paleontological and geological research and professorship in the future.

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