Campus News Society & Culture

Twelve UGA Honors students receive Crane Scholarship for extracurricular engagement

Athens, Ga. – Twelve University of Georgia Honors students have been awarded the William Moore Crane Leadership Scholarship, which recognizes leadership in extracurricular activities and/or involvement with civic, community or religious organizations.

The $1,000 scholarship, which is administered by UGA’s Honors Program and the university’s Center for Leadership and Service, is named in honor of a 1921 UGA graduate who was influential in the founding of the UGA Alumni Society.

“This is a stellar group of impressive individuals,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of the Honors Program. “With their array of talents and interests, they are destined to continue making a positive impact locally, nationally and globally.”

Candidates must be third- or fourth-year students enrolled in the Honors Program with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.7 and demonstrated leadership in extracurricular activities. The scholarship is renewable in a recipient’s fourth year, subject to a minimum 3.7 GPA.

“It was a difficult decision for the committee to make as all of our applicants were exemplary, but those that were chosen rose to the top because of their outstanding commitment to leadership and service,” said Center for Leadership and Service director Jen Rentschler.

The 2013-2014 Crane Leadership Scholars, along with their hometowns and majors, are:

Kaytlin Butler, religion and international affairs, Pelham
A promoter of conflict resolution through faith and ecumenical strategies, Butler is the founder and former president of the UGA Abraham Alliance, an interfaith student coalition seeking to foster an environment of peace through dialogue among different religious groups. She also has served on the board of the Arab Cultural Association, is a CURO undergraduate researcher and works in UGA’s Disability Resource Center. She is pursuing a minor in Arabic.

Dervin Cunningham, biological sciences, Albany
A fourth-year student and CURO Honors Scholar, Cunningham plans to become a primary care physician. His research has taken him to UGA’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center and College of Public Health, as well as the Yale School of Medicine. He’s spent time shadowing physicians at the Urology Institute and Continence Care in Thomasville. He’s also a counselor with the Black Education Support Team, co-founder of Project R.A.I.S.E. and a Roosevelt Scholar.

Anna Beth Havenar, linguistics, Statesboro
An Honors Ambassador and Arabic minor, Havenar also is a CURO Honors Scholar. Under the direction of faculty in the department of sociology, she produced a research project on Arabic sociolinguistics and religion. She is the co-founder of the UGA Abraham Alliance and is an active leader in the Wesley Foundation on campus, with which she traveled to Peru to teach English. Havenar spent the summer of 2012 in Egypt, teaching English to Sudanese refugees.

Melinda (Mindy) Johnson, political science and economics, Dacula
With post-graduation plans to complete a public policy graduate program and then attend law school, Johnson is president of the UGA Undergraduate Mock Trial Association, a teaching assistant for the Honors Program and a member of the Arch Society. Johnson also is pursuing a certificate in legal studies and is a volunteer with the Athens Peer Court, which informs middle and high school students about the value of the justice system.

Cody Knapp, French and international affairs, Thomasville
A self-proclaimed political enthusiast, Knapp’s career goals include serving as a policy analyst and working to improve the management of emergent global issues. He is a CURO Honors Scholar, Roosevelt Institute Scholar and a member of the Dean Tate and Blue Key honor societies. He also is an Honors teaching assistant, an Honors Ambassador and a member of the Honors Program Student Council. Knapp is a founding staff member of the Georgia Political Review, UGA’s student-operated journal of political and foreign affairs.

Minh Nguyen, linguistics, Cumming
Nguyen is a member of the UGA Vietnamese Student Association and is conducting CURO research that focuses on language and internalized racism in the Vietnamese-American community. She also is pursuing minors in French and women’s studies and plans to obtain a doctorate in sociolinguistics. A resident assistant for University Housing, Nguyen is a member of the Lambda Alliance Speakers Bureau and is a founding member and president of Spoken Word UGA.

Kate Plumblee, health promotion, Atlanta
As an executive board member for UGA Relay for Life, Plumblee has personally raised more than $30,000 through the organization to support cancer research, due in no small part to her family’s history with the disease. With a plan to attend medical school, Plumblee has conducted research at the Emory Winship Cancer Center that analyzed the effects of chemotherapy and radiation on older adult patients. She is a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, Order of Omega and Blue Key Honor Society.

John Esteban Rodriguez, English, Guyton
A native of the South American nation of Colombia, Rodriguez’s interests include engaging with disenfranchised communities through policy research and hands-on volunteerism. He spent the summer of 2011 in Colombia teaching English and French in underserved youth communities and the summer of 2012 researching food insecurity in northeast Brazil. An NSEP Boren Scholar who recently returned from a year in Jordan studying modern standard Arabic, Rodriguez holds leadership positions in UGA Housing, the Thomas Lay After-School Program, Casa de Amistad and the Roosevelt Institute.

Nakul (Nick) Talathi, genetics and psychology, Alpharetta
With plans to attend medical school, Talathi has worked in a biochemistry lab since his freshman year. He has completed an Honors thesis on a protein found in many forms of cancer, worked with health care professionals in Ghana and participated in New York University’s summer research program to develop treatments to reduce scarring that comes as a result of radiation therapy. Talathi is a board member of Special Olympics at UGA and works with special-needs students in Clarke County in and out of the classroom.

Jim Thompson, psychology and public relations, Atlanta
Planning a career in political relations, Thompson has conducted CURO research in the field of social psychology and plans to apply his findings to studies of voting behavior. He serves as the executive secretary for UGA’s Student Government Association and is the director of recruiting for Dawg Camp. As part of the Global LEAD program, Thompson spent the summer of 2012 in Greece meeting with leaders in the international fight against human trafficking, which inspired his decision to pursue coursework in mass communications.

Taryn Winston, political science and public affairs journalism, Lawrenceville
Studying political science and public affairs journalism with a pre-law intent, Winston is an adviser and advocate in the University Judiciary, an assistant director of the Student Legal Services program, a member of the Student Alumni Council and a staff writer for student-run Georgia Political Review. She also is a volunteer with Shop with a Bulldawg and is a tutor and mentor in the Thomas Lay After-School Program. In the summer of 2013, Winston was chosen for the Honors in Washington Internship Program, where she interned in the office of U.S. Rep John Barrow.

Jessica Wolf, geography and Spanish, Decatur
Wolf is an intern with UGArden, a student-run community garden. She has established a mobile market to provide produce from UGArden to underserved Athens residents. She also serves as co-director of the Athens Community Council on Aging’s community garden. Wolf is the public affairs director at WUOG, UGA’s college radio station, where she hosts shows on Scandinavian music and independent pop music. She will study abroad in fall 2014, taking Spanish courses and pursuing an internship in urban agriculture.