Each year, the Austin College faculty selects two outstanding students in the graduating class for special recognition by the Board of Trustees, based upon the students’ entire academic record. During Commencement, the two students, with no distinction between them, receive the J.M. Robinson and J.C. Kidd Memorial Scholarship Medals, first presented in 1935 and 1940, respectively.
Alicia received the J. M. Robinson Medal. She completed majors in international relations and African studies and is preparing for a year of service through AmeriCorps before pursuing graduate studies in international education development. Her eventual career goal is to work abroad, combining her interests in development, education, conflict studies, Africa, and improving the lives of others.
She gained experience in all those areas at Austin College. Involved in many social organizations, like Omega Zeta sorority, she also participated in four Model United Nations conferences, was a member of the Posey Leadership Institute, served as a resident assistant, studied abroad for a semester in Uganda and Rwanda, and spent January Terms in India and Morocco as well as Egypt and Palestine. A Lilly grant enabled her to serve at a school in Sierra Leone, which, she said, “changed how I view myself and my ideas of what I want to do for a career (which will always be changing).”
A Robert L. and Mae F. Wood Presidential Scholar, Alicia also had support for her Austin College experiences through the Kappa Gamma Chi Alumni Scholarship and the James Knowlton Memorial Endowment for Travel Abroad.
Selected as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Chi honor societies, as well as Pi Sigma Alpha honor society for political science, Alicia earned Honors in Political Science, completing an honors thesis on “The Nexus: History Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda,
and Northern Ireland.”
Nicole received the J.C. Kidd Medal. A math major with a minor in German, she has enrolled in Austin Teacher Program (ATP) graduate studies and will complete her Master of Arts in Teaching degree in 2013. She plans to teach high school math, hoping to have long-lasting and positive influence on her students, and eventually, to teach in a low income school. She received Austin College’s Carl B. and Florence E. King Fellowship for an Outstanding Student in Teacher Education to continue her studies.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society and Delta Phi Alpha national honor society for students in German, Nicole maintained a busy co-curricular schedule, serving as a Sallie Majors Religious Life intern and an Academic Skills Center peer tutor. She also lived the hectic life of a scholar-athlete on the women’s soccer team, receiving conference and regional academic honors.
Nicole spent spring 2011 in a study abroad program in Berlin, Germany. Along with her regular studies there, she completed an internship, teaching English as a foreign language to fifth- and sixth-grade students. “My experience abroad showed me how capable I am of being self-sufficient and adapting to new situations,” she said. Nicole’s study was supported through the Charles F. Richardson III International Studies Scholarship Program.
When she began exploring college options, Nicole found everything she was looking for at Austin College—international study, soccer, and a teacher education program. She also found a faculty that inspired her. “Professors push us to critically think and analyze ideas,” Nicole said. “They don’t expect us to only regurgitate information, but to apply our new knowledge to new situations and to our own lives. I think that makes the learning experience much more relevant and engaging to students.”