Mary Elizabeth Barksdale Episcopal Class of 2016 Salutatorian
Mary Elizabeth Barksdale '16, has been awarded one of the most highly selective merit scholarships in the nation. TheJefferson Scholars Foundation at the University of Virginia selected Mary Elizabeth as one of 34 recipients of the Jefferson Scholarship. She will commence her studies in the fall at U.Va.
In order to be named a Scholar, candidates must undergo a rigorous, highly competitive, multi-stage selection process. This year, out of the approximately 1,800 students nominated for the Scholarship, 120 finalists were invited to take part in a five-day competition at U.Va., which included seminar discussions, essay and mathematics examinations, as well as interviews conducted by U.Va. alumni and faculty.
The 34 selected recipients of the 2016 Jefferson Scholarship boast a number of significant achievements and Mary Elizabeth is no exception. During her time at the Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, she was elected to the Honor Council, presented her thesis: “Of Monsters and Men: A Study of Popular Culture’s Monsters and Their Influence on the Social Psyche” at the Southwest Popular Culture Association Conference, was a leader on the Varsity Basketball and Varsity Powerlifting teams, and a member of both the Jazz and Concert Band. She was a founder of True 2 You, an organization mentoring Middle School girls, served as a Writing Fellow in the Episcopal School Writing Center, served as an ambassador to the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Conference, and attended Louisiana Girls State where she was recognized as Outstanding Senator . She was the class Salutatorian, and graduated with honors. Finally, Mary Elizabeth received Episcopal School’s Webster Cup, the highest honor awarded by the school, which is given to the senior who has epitomized excellence in scholarship, in service to the school and the community, in character and in involvement in school activities.
Mary Elizabeth will join a community of 138 current Jefferson Scholars this fall. In addition to receiving the full cost of attending the University for four years, Jefferson Scholars benefit from a number of enrichment programs sponsored by the Foundation, including travel abroad, career networking activities, an outdoor challenge program and a leadership speaker series.