Emory University Announces 2024 Bobby Jones Scholars

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

Emory University awarded four brilliant seniors the famous Robert T. Jones Jr. Scholarship to study in Scotland next year.

Amelia Andujar, Grace Johnson, Shreyas Rajagopal, and Amelia Tamez, known as Bobby Jones Scholars, will spend a year pursuing integrative studies at the University of St Andrews as part of a scholarship exchange honoring the great amateur golfer and scholar who attended Emory’s School of Law.

More than 400 young scholars from Emory and St Andrews have taken part in the nearly 50-year-old program, which promotes academic brilliance, excellent character, and honesty.

According to Joanne Brzinski, Emory College senior associate dean for undergraduate education and director of the Bobby Jones Program, selecting among this year’s 37 applications was extremely tough due to the breadth of talent and accomplishments from a variety of Emory experiences.

“The four students who were selected gave compelling reasons why this postgraduate experience was important for them,” Brzinski said. “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.”

Students may take classes without pursuing a degree, but like in prior years, the current Bobby Jones scholars want to obtain master’s degrees to supplement their Emory research and coursework.

Amelia Andujar

The difference between Andujar’s childhood in the Dominican Republic and her academic years at Emory piqued her interest in social inequity.

As a double major in sociology and cinema and media, she honed her comparative thinking while learning how to comprehend the social systems that sustain and worsen inequities.

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

Andujar also co-founded the inaugural TEDxYouth in Santo Domingo before becoming a director for TEDxEmory and the first female captain of the TNT Dance Crew. Professionally, she established and directed new programs at the Emory Center for Women, worked as a debate coach and translator for the New York City Urban Debate League, and interned twice in U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s Atlanta office.

One recommender describes Andujar as “motivated both by intellectual and ethical passions,” and he intends to pursue a master’s degree in global social and political thought at St Andrews. She also intends to join the university dance and Hispanic societies.

Her proposed master’s dissertation, which will examine digitization policies and technology interventions in education systems in the Caribbean and Latin America, will set the framework for a PhD in social policy as well as a career in education research and policymaking in the region.


Grace Johnson

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

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

After taking a semester off to focus on her own mental health, Johnson joined Emory Emergency Medical Services (EMS) on the Atlanta campus. She rose to the rank of chief, creating behavioral health and diversity training programs for roughly 90 volunteers while still supervising emergency patient care.

Globally, she traveled to Cuba as part of a course studying racial health inequities on the island, and she spent the summer in Spain as part of Emory’s Education Abroad programme. As part of the School for International Training Honors Program, Johnson also performed comparative ethnographic research in Argentina, South Africa, and Vietnam, yielding what one recommender called as “nuanced… critical readings.”

Johnson will study gender studies for a master’s degree at St Andrews in order to have a better grasp of gender inequalities in health policy and initiatives. In addition, she intends to join the campus touch rugby team, Sexpression charity, and Saints LGBT+ committee.

Johnson intends to use her ethnographic findings as the foundation for a research project on gender in the languages of mental health, followed by a PhD in medical anthropology.


Shreyas Rajagopal

Rajagopal, whose family came to Texas from India, majored in chemistry and religion to learn scientific and social theories about how the world works.

But it was as the Robert W. Woodruff Debate Scholar at the Barkley Forum for Debate, Deliberation, and Dialogue, where Rajagopal was ranked among the top collegiate debaters in the country, that he questioned how to apply that knowledge to serve the society.

Rajagopal, described by one recommender as a “intellectual sponge,” helped establish the Program for Refugee Healthcare Literacy for Atlanta-area refugees while also helping with the Atlanta Urban Debate League and numerous local hospitals, in addition to working part-time.

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

Rajagopal plans to pursue a master’s degree in global social and political philosophy at St Andrews, where he will compare Scottish and American health-care organizations and decision-making processes. He also intends to volunteer at the St Andrews Community Hospital and become an active member of the St Andrews Union Debate Society and the St Mary’s College Theologians.

He intends to enter medical school after his year in Scotland, with the goal of earning an MD and working in health policy.


Amelia Tamez

Tamez has fashioned a unique academic path mixing paleontology, social justice, and ancient history, motivated by what one recommender called as her zeal and determination.

Tamez, an environmental sciences major from Seattle, acquired her scientific interest while growing up with her grandma, also an environmental scientist. She conducted rigorous internships with the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance and the Captain Planet Foundation, where she assisted with the cultivation, harvesting, and distribution of community garden vegetables and the development of environmental education programs.

Her Latin studies led to a minor in classical civilization, with a focus on ancient Rome. Attending Emory’s summer Art History in Italy program fueled her desire to investigate how ancient and early-modern landscapes relate to contemporary life. Tamez also participated in Emory’s Biology in Australia program, which combined her interest in classics with a passion for wildlife ecology.

Tamez is combining those experiences with her honors thesis, which is an autonomous paleontological project looking into how trilobites (extinct marine arthropods) interacted and influenced the environment when they transitioned from marine to intertidal zones over 445 million years ago. She kept working on the project, which required 3D modeling and GIS work, while serving as a resident adviser in her second year and representing Emory as a student delegate to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai.

Tamez will study geology and earth systems at St Andrews University, the cradle of geoscience, while pursuing a master’s degree in research in earth and environmental sciences. She intends to join the Geological, Arts, and Hispanic groups on campus.

Tamez intends to use her improved knowledge of earth systems to a PhD program when she returns from Scotland, with the goal of conducting paleontological and geological research and eventually becoming a professor.

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