Fulbright College Announces 2008 Sturgis Fellows

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 2008 class of Sturgis Fellows boasts an average of a 33 composite score on the ACT and a 4.0 high school grade point average. Five are National Merit semifinalists. They are Ethan Latimer of Searcy, Ark.; Marie Morris of Little Rock, Ark.; Preston Scrape of Jonesboro, Ark.; Jeanne Vockroth of Fayetteville, Ark.; Kate Thompson of Mankato, Minn.; and Meenakshi Prajapati of Trinidad and Tobago. 

“This class of Sturgis Fellows once again represents some of the most accomplished students in Arkansas and in the world. They are National Merit finalists, valedictorians, extraordinary volunteers in their communities and exemplary students,” said Donald R. Bobbitt, dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas.

The Sturgis Fellowship is unique from other university fellowships and scholarships because it requires the students to pursue a major in Fulbright College. Moreover, the students must complete the rigorous Scholars Program and graduate with honors.

“This year’s class, like those before them, are articulate and informed, bringing an enthusiasm for learning to every class they take. As always, we are enormously grateful to the Sturgis Trust for allowing us to attract such outstanding students to the university,” said Bobbitt.

The Sturgis Fellowship is made possible by an endowment from the Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable Trust of the Bank of America. Each Sturgis Fellow receives $50,000, or $12,500 per year, making the Sturgis among the most generous scholarships offered at the University of Arkansas. The fellowship pays for tuition, room and board, and provides discretionary funds for computers, musical instruments, professional journals and trips to conferences. The trust has also endowed a second program, the Sturgis Honors Scholars Grants, which fund research and study abroad programs for non-Sturgis Fellows enrolled in the college’s Honors Program.

 “As with every year, the talented pool of students we interviewed this year was very deep indeed, and so our choices were difficult; the spectrum of talent was a wide one, and this diversity is amply represented by this wonderful group. All of us are looking forward to their arrival here on campus,” said Sidney Burris, director of Honors Studies.

Ethan Latimer will pursue a bachelor of science degree in biological sciences and pre-medicine. Latimer graduated from Searcy High School, where he was the yearbook editor and a Boys State delegate, as well as a member of the First Team All-Conference in football and winner of a poetry recital. Ethan volunteered with Special Olympics and has worked with the elderly.

A graduate of Mount Saint Mary Academy in Little Rock, Marie Morris will major in biochemistry and Spanish and plans to attend medical school. She has been a volunteer for focus groups on teen health and served as a tutor for Building Bright Futures. She hopes to pursue service work in Kenya and Belize following her medical training.

Originally from New Orleans, Jeanne Vockroth moved to Fayetteville in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. She was an active member of the Art Club at Fayetteville High School, serving as president in her senior year. For the past two years, she has served as the art editor for the Fayetteville High School;s literary magazine, Connotations. She attended Governor’s School as a visual arts student, and her art is featured in the Blair Library’s literary magazine. She will pursue a major in studio art, with an emphasis in narrative painting.

Preston Scrape from Jonesboro, Ark., plans to major in biochemistry. In his senior year at Jonesboro High, Preston interned at a research institute, where he studied the effects of maternal drug use on child development, looking largely at brain tissues. Before starting at the University of Arkansas, Preston plans to travel to France and Spain. He hopes to combine his interests in the natural sciences with studies in theology and philosophy.

Kate Thompson from Mankato, Minn., plans to major in anthropology and study archaeology and linguistics as well. Active in research projects over the years, Kate has studied the effects of leachate recirculation on landfill cells, test anxiety in high school students and the reliability of oral traditions. She has presented her findings at local, regional, state and international competitions, serving as a regional judge in her senior year. 

With a special interest in zoology, Meenakshi Prajapati from Trinidad and Tobago will major in biological sciences and plans to attend medical school. She sees herself as an agent of change for the future, improving health care in under-serviced areas in the United States. Her goal is to forge policies for health care reform. 


Sidney Burris, director, honors program
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
(479) 575-2509, sburris@uark.edu

Lynn Fisher, communications director
Fulbright College
(479) 575-7272, lfisher@uark.edu


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