Robert W. Woodruff Scholars and Fellows Program
In 1980, Emory University established the Robert W. Woodruff Scholars and Fellows Program to recruit and reward students with exceptional character, scholastic abilities, and leadership qualities.

Each year, every college and division names incoming Woodruff Fellows. It is the highest accolade an incoming student can receive.

At Emory Law, Woodruff Fellows receive a scholarship covering all tuition and fees for their three years of study toward a juris doctor. In addition, fellows receive a $3,000 stipend to assist in defraying the cost of books and living expenses. The approximate value of the fellowship is $160,000.  

Specifically, the fellowships are awarded to students who have demonstrated

  • qualities of forceful and unselfish character,
  • intellectual and personal vigor,
  • outstanding academic achievement,
  • impressive skills in communication,
  • significant leadership and creativity in school or community,
  • clear potential for enriching the lives of their contemporaries at Emory University, and
  • strong propensity to make a positive impact on the community as an Emory Law alumnus/alumna.

The Woodruff Fellowship is more than a scholarship. Becoming a Woodruff Fellow means joining a rich community of scholars who are leaders among the Emory Law community, the alumni association, and their greater communities. Our fellows are leaders both while they are students and after they graduate and join the practice in courtrooms, businesses, government, public service, and academia. The Woodruff Fellow designation signifies character and leadership.

All incoming three-year JD students are eligible to apply for the Woodruff Fellowship program. 

Robert W. Woodruff

Robert W. Woodruff

Just 33 years old when he took command of the Coca-Cola Co. in 1923, Robert Winship Woodruff shaped the fledgling soft drink enterprise and its bottler franchise system into a corporate giant with the world's most widely known trademark. A man of enormous stature and personal magnetism, Woodruff's influence over the affairs of Coca-Cola was absolute until his death in 1985.

Woodruff was born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1889 and soon moved to Atlanta, where his father, Ernest, became president of the Trust Co. of Georgia. An indifferent student, young Woodruff wasted no time in making his mark in business. Beginning as a salesman for the White Motor Co. in Cleveland, Ohio, Woodruff quickly became the company's most successful salesman and was soon promoted to vice president and general sales manager.

Meanwhile, Ernest Woodruff had invested along with many other Atlantans in the Coca-Cola Co., which had been acquired and taken public by a syndicate led by the Trust Co. of Georgia. After the acquisition, the company fell on lean times, so Ernest persuaded Robert to return to Atlanta and become its president.

During the next six decades, Woodruff established a remarkable record as a businessman and philanthropist. He gave anonymously to many institutions, a number of which owe their very existence to his generosity. Much of his philanthropy was directed through the Trebor Foundation, established in 1937 (renamed the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation following his death). Woodruff and his brother also presided over the Emily and Ernest Woodruff Fund, a separate charitable foundation whose assets of approximately $105 million were distributed in 1979 to Emory University.

The gift was called the largest single benefaction in American history and increased Woodruff’s donations to the university to more than $200 million. Emory, with five million shares of stock, became one of the largest owners of Coca-Cola.

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Woodruff Fellowship Application and Selection Process

The 2016 Woodruff Scholars nomination submission period has now closed.

The selection process for the Woodruff Fellowship is rigorous. The selection committee, composed of faculty, staff, and Woodruff alumni, looks for outstanding achievement in academics, leadership, and out-of-school activities as well as the potential to make a significant impact on the Emory Law community.

Two-Step Application Process

  • First, submit your application for admission to the three-year JD program through
  • Second, have a professor, colleague, employer, or another person who knows you well submit a “Letter of Nomination for the Woodruff Fellowship” starting October 1. We do not recommend using one of your admission recommenders for this letter. 

Scholars Weekend

Each year, up to 15 Woodruff finalists participate in our annual Woodruff Scholars Weekend.

During this interactive, three-day event, finalists meet top Emory Law administrators, faculty, students, and alumni. Finalists participate in a special classroom session with a distinguished faculty member, visit Coca-Cola’s world headquarters to learn about Robert W. Woodruff’s achievements, and experience the opportunities awaiting them at Emory and beyond. At the conclusion of Scholars Weekend, each finalist interviews with the Woodruff Selection Committee. 

Emory Law will cover all expenses, including travel, for Woodruff Scholars Weekend. (Finalists living abroad will have their airfare reimbursed up to $700.)

Alexandra Cochrane

University of Florida 2015
BA in criminology and law; BS in psychology (expected)

A senior at the University of Florida, Alexandra Cochrane is double majoring in psychology and criminology and law. She is a Carol B. Currier Scholar and has appeared on the Dean’s List every semester. Cochrane has accrued extensive legal experience during her undergrad, serving as an intern for the Public Defender’s Office, a research assistant for UF’s Psychology and Law Laboratory, and an intern for the State Attorney’s Office. Cochrane serves on the student conduct committee where she assists in determining responsibility and appropriate sanctions of those in violation of the university’s honor and conduct code. She has also served in multiple leadership positions, including vice president of standards for Delta Nu Zeta and co-director of career development for the Golden Key International Honor Society. As a mentor for the Gator Teens program, Cochrane has helped mentor at-risk youths weekly and coached high school students on setting important life goals.

Lucy Gauthier

University of Oklahoma 2015
BA in letters, concentration in constitutional studies (expected)

Lucy Gauthier is a senior at the University of Oklahoma majoring in letters, with a concentration in constitutional studies and a minor in psychology. Gauthier is actively involved in Oklahoma’s Honors College, where she is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, has received the OU Award of Excellence, and has appeared on both the President’s Honor Roll and the Dean’s List all four years. As an undergrad, Gauthier has served in many leadership positions, including scholarship chair of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, vice president of her social sorority, leadership scholar of the College of Arts and Sciences, and webmaster of the “Big Event,” a statewide community service event. With her passion for horses, Gauthier is the show manager for OU’s Equestrian team and was previously a member of the all-academic first team of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.

Fiona O'Carroll

University of St. Andrews 2015
MLitt in modern history (expected)

Emory University 2014
BA summa cum laude in history, English, and French

Fiona O’Carroll graduated summa cum laude from Emory University with bachelor’s degrees in history, English and French. While there, O’Carroll was treasurer of Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society, volunteered with Readers Beyond Borders and Volunteer Emory, was elected class representative to the board of Emory Scholars Program, and received, among many other distinctions, the Woodruff Scholarship, a SIRE grant, and the Woodruff Library Undergraduate Research Award. She is currently pursuing a Master of Letters degree in modern history from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she helps organize fundraising activities as a member of St. Andrews’s Charities Campaign. O’Carroll is fluent in French and has studied at the Université de Paris; her interest in travel and international study led her to work for Emory’s Center for International Programs Abroad, informing students about study abroad opportunities and preparing them for their programs. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, poetry, and Settlers of Catan.

Matthew Plott

University of Tennessee Chattanooga 2015
BS in political science (expected)

A lifelong resident of Appalachia, Mathew Plott is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga pursuing a major in political science and a minor in history. Plott is actively involved in law and politics within his community. He has worked on a number of local races including Chris Anderson’s campaign for Chattanooga City Council and Patricia Fountain’s campaign for Collegedale Commission. As manager of Gwen Tidwell’s campaign for Criminal Court Clerk in Hamilton County, Plott led dozens of phone banks, managed the campaign’s social media presence, and provided staff support for Tidwell at multiple events. He has taken on a number of leadership roles within Democratic politics. He is currently serving as the president of the College Democrats of Tennessee, a position that oversees all campus chapters of College Democrats within the state and is one of the seventy-two voting members on the Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee.

Nicole Schladt

University of Cambridge 2015
MPhil in international relations and politics (expected)

University of Kentucky 2014
BA in international studies and gender and women's studies; minors in mathematics and Spanish

Nicole Schladt—a Lexington, Kentucky, native—currently resides in the United Kingdom, where she is pursuing a MPhil in international relations and politics from the University of Cambridge. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Kentucky in 2014 with a BA in gender and women’s studies and international studies. As an undergraduate, Schladt served as editor-in-chief of The Colonel and president of the University of Kentucky Women’s Choir, while also competing with the University of Kentucky Policy Debate Team and volunteering with the Maxwell Street Legal Clinic. She currently holds the position of Social Secretary at Murray Edwards College in Cambridge. Schladt’s MPhil research focuses on the intersections of international human rights law, feminist legal studies, international relations theory, and queer theory. Her forthcoming master’s thesis critically examines rhetoric employed by the UN to shape its Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Resolutions. In her free time, Schladt can be found playing the banjo and writing music for an all-female bluegrass band.

Jin Hyung "Jin" Lee

Brown University 2014
BA in environmental studies

In 2012 Jin Lee studied abroad at Stockholm University, focusing on sustainable development and Swedish forestry policy. Since May 2013, she has been a USFS Forest Legacy Program research intern at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, through which she presented a model map at the 2013 Society of American Foresters Conference. Prior to this position, she was an environmental communications research intern at The Ocean Project and an interpretation intern at Rocky Mountain National Park. Lee was captain of the Brown Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Club Team and has previously been a mentor to high school students through Ready, Set, Launch. Born in Seoul, she is fluent in Korean.

Blake Meadows

Patrick Henry College 2014
BA in American politics and policy

Blake Meadows has served as student senator and head student coach for the debate team. He has been a Moot Court All-American since 2010, and he recently became an American Collegiate Moot Court Association National Champion. In 2012 he was a competitor at the British Parliamentary Debate World Championship in Berlin. Meadows is currently a land coordinator at High Plains Energy. Previously, he has served as a Teen Court Attorney; an intern for the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations; a regional congressional campaign manager; and a property manager at Connarista Camp, a conservation and outreach program focusing on land conservancy and wildlife management. He is an open water certified scuba diver and a paleontology enthusiast, having led four excavations in Colorado, one of which uncovered the fourth known Allosaurus skull worldwide. He is originally from North Carolina.

Philip Olsen

Florida Atlantic University 2014
BA in English and philosophy

Philip Olsen finished first place at the 2010 Parliamentary Debate Star Invitational at Florida State College and the 2011 Marks Invitational at the University of West Florida. He was also a semifinalist in Parliamentary Debate at the Florida Intercollegiate Forensics Association 2011 State Championship at the University of Florida. Olsen has previously served as an intern at the American Podiatric Medical Association and the Lazy Eight Stock Farm. He has also been a tutor at Score at the Top Learning Centers and Schools. He is currently a Student Escort for the Night Owls Program. He is originally from New Jersey.

William Eye

Emory University
BA in philosophy and music

University of St. Andrews
MLitt in international political theory

Will Eye is the Executive Notes and Comments Editor of the Emory Law Journal, a student ambassador, and a real estate finance research assistant to Professor Frank Alexander. Will was a summer associate at Kilpatrick Townsend in 2014 and will join Jones Day’s Atlanta and Washington DC offices as a summer associate in 2015. Before law school, Will studied at the University of St. Andrews as a Bobby Jones Scholar, where he was principal violinist for the University Symphony and a varsity rower for the University Boat Club. An alumnus of Emory College, he was also a violinist for the Emory Symphony and a varsity rower. Will researched Turkish migrant rights in Berlin as a 2012 Humanity in Action Fellow. Before college, Will was a violinist for Music Without Borders and performed benefit concerts in Russia, Japan, and South Korea. His hometown is Baldwin, NY.

Jennifer "Jeni" Lamb

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
BS in agricultural and applied economics, BA in political science
2011 MS in agricultural and applied economics

Jeni is dedicated to becoming an effective environmental and food policy advocate. At Emory, she serves as the Executive Articles Editor of Emory Law Journal, the President of the Environmental Law and Conservation Society, and as a student attorney in the Turner Environmental Law Clinic. Jeni was a summer clerk with the Environmental Protection Agency (Region 4) in 2014 and will join Holland & Hart’s Denver office as a summer associate in 2015. Prior to law school, Jeni worked on sustainable agriculture projects in central Appalachia, Kenya, Uganda, and Lesotho. She also interned with the agriculture committees for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Jeni was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar in 2009 and Virginia Tech’s Undergraduate Woman of the Year in 2010. Jeni has published in multiple journals on agriculture and environmental issues. She enjoys riding her horse, Denny. Her hometown is Longmont, CO.​

Alyssa Pardo

George Washington University
BA in international affairs and economics

Alyssa Pardo served as a Program Assistant for Stability Operations at the US Department of State Foreign Service Institute. While at GWU, she was President of the Amnesty International Chapter, a Model UN Delegate, and a Professional Foreign Service Sorority Member. In 2009, she was an intern at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor for the US Department of State and an Intern for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Latin America Program. In 2010, she was an Administrative Assistant at the Public Defender's Office in DC. Pardo has also been an intern at the Peace Corps Headquarters and the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. In 2010 she completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. Her hometown is East Longmeadow, MA.

Vanessa Lopez

University of Miami
MA in international administration; BA in political science and international studies

Vanessa Lopez graduated from the University of Miami in 2008, double majoring in political science and international studies. A native of Miami, she received a master's in international administration in 2011. Before law school, she served as a research associate for the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami. Lopez has been published multiple times and appeared on PBS and Spanish-language media outlets regarding her work. She serves on the Board of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC’s Young Leaders Group and has been actively involved in earthquake relief in Haiti. Lopez is a managing editor of Emory Law Journal and has been published by the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section and will be published by the Brazilian Journal of International Law. After graduating, Lopez will clerk in the Southern District of Florida.  

Becky Lowe

University of Georgia
BA in political science; minor in sociology

Becky Lowe is originally from Tampa, Florida. She has served as an intern for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and Congressman Allen Boyd, where she assisted the Constituent Services Representative for Military and Veterans Affairs. She was also the Director of Student Life for the UGA Student Government Association and the SPIA Ambassador for the UGA SPIA Student Advisory Board. Lowe served as associate editor for Georgia Political Review, Public Relations Chair for her sorority, and as a volunteer for UGA Heroes and Relay for Life. At Emory, Lowe serves as the president for the Legal Association for Women Students and externs for the American Cancer Society, Office of Corporate Counsel. She received an EPIC grant last summer to work at the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor. 

Doug Stephens

University of Colorado
BA in international affairs

After graduation, Doug Stephens will be clerking for the San Francisco Immigration Court as a DOJ Honors attorney. Stephens is co-chair for the National Lawyers Guild, Notes and Comments editor of the Emory International Law Review, and served as the law school liaison to the Emory Refugee Alliance. Since coming to Emory Law, he has spent both summers interning with the U.S. Department of Justice, participated in both the Turner Environmental Law and the International Humanitarian Law Clinics, and externed with the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network. Previously, Stephens volunteered as a translator and interpreter for the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network in his hometown of Denver, Colorado and served in Peace Corps—Paraguay for over three years. He speaks fluent Spanish and Guarani.

Sabrina Wilson

Murray State University
BS in physics

After graduation, Sabrina Wilson will be joining the Atlanta office of Fish & Richardson PC as a new associate. At Emory Law, Wilson is a Note and Comment editor for the Emory Law Journal, a member of the IP Society, and she participates in the entrepreneurial TI:GER program. She lives in Rome, Georgia, where she owns and operates Blue Dawn Photography, a portrait and commercial photography business. She previously served as project manager in charge of investor portfolios and legal compliance for a life settlement company. Wilson also taught high school Geometry, Honors Algebra II, and Honors Pre-Calculus. She was contracted by the Georgia Youth Science and Technology Center to assist the public school implementation of new physics-based middle school curricula. Wilson served four years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, where she taught nuclear physics and reactor principles, and was named the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command’s “Instructor of the Year.”

Zachary Eyster 14L
Messiah College
BA in religious studies
Currently: Associate at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP in Atlanta

Sarah O'Donahue 14L
Vanderbilt University
BS in political science and classical studies
Currently: Associate at Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta

Laura Rivera 14L
New York University
MA in journalism and Latin American studies
Emory University
BA in political science and spanish literature
Currently: Staff Attorney, Georgia Legal Services Program, Farmworker Rights Division

JoAnna Smith 14L
American University
BA in law and society; certificate in women, politics, and political leadership

Drew Stevens 14L
Baylor University
BA in sociology, minor in political science
Currently: Associate at Arnall Golden Gregory LPP in Atlanta

Steve Ferketic 13L
University of Connecticut
BS in biology and political science
Currently: Associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in New York

Donalee Donaldson 12L
Seton Hall University
BA in English honors, social & behavioral sciences
Currently: Admissions Coordinator and Teaching Fellow at Kepler Kigali in Rwanda

Laura Huffman 08L
Georgia Institute of Technology
BS in electrical engineering
Currently: Senior Associate, King & Spalding LLP in Atlanta

Sara Walden Brown
02L Mercer University
BA in French, English, philosophy
Currently: Associate at King & Spalding LLP in New York

Tony Balloon 02L
University of Florida, Fisher School of Accounting
BS in accounting with a minor in economics
Currently: Associate at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP in Atlanta