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
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.
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 www.lsac.org.
- 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.
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.)
Diana C. Benton
Webster University 2012
MA in business and organizational security management
Stanford University 2007
BA in international relations
Diana C. Benton earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a master’s degree in business and organizational security management. She received specialized training in equal opportunity leadership, domestic violence intervention, and sexual assault victim advocacy during her eight years as an active-duty US Army officer. Between 2013 and 2015, she was a logistics and HR officer for the criminal division of the military police, where she orchestrated and resourced all logistics and human resources requirements for employees dispersed across two different countries during dynamic wartime operations. She served in Afghanistan and Germany as well as numerous locations across the United States.
Caroline Ross Herion
University of Michigan School of Public Health 2015
MPH in health management and policy
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2009
BA in journalism and mass communication and international studies
Caroline Ross Herion is a 2009 graduate of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a 2015 graduate of the University of Michigan School of Public Health. At UNC, Herion was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Kappa Tau Alpha honor societies. At U of M, she was an S. J. Axelrod-Eugene Feingold Scholar. Herion is currently an administrative fellow to the CEO of Emory Healthcare Network. Previously, she was a research assistant for the U of M School of Public Health where she drafted a white paper on university rankings in collaboration with Professors Sridhar Kota and Andrew Maynard for eventual publication and presentation to industry stakeholders. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Michigan Healthcare Executive Student Association, the Health Policy Student Association and Women in Health Leadership.
University of Central Florida 2016 (expected)
BA in political science (pre-law)
Tyler Yeargain is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science at the University of Central Florida, where he is a member of the Burnett Honors College and serves as a teaching assistant. As a UCF student, he served as the Legislative Affairs Coordinator in student government, lobbying the state legislature on the university's legislative priorities. In this capacity, he helped write and pass Chloe's Law in response to the death of UCF student Chloe Arenas. Yeargain has conducted research in the field of political science, publishing an undergraduate thesis on Florida voting trends, analyzing dual citizenship patterns in Eastern Europe, and working with Dr. Barry Edwards to co-author a textbook chapter and an article in the Albany Law Review. He interned for United States Senator Bill Nelson, working with caseworkers on constituent services, and served as the Deputy Regional Director for Voter Expansion for Charlie Crist's 2014 gubernatorial campaign, in which he took reports from poll-watchers and assisted the campaign with litigation decisions.
University of Florida 2015
BA in criminology and law; BS in psychology
Alexandra Cochrane is an assistant director for Student Legal Services and member of Emory’s Public Interest Committee, Criminal Law Society and Supreme Court Advocacy Program. Cochrane graduated cum laude from the University of Florida with a degree in psychology and criminology and law and was named a Carol B. Currier Scholar. 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. She researched topics such as jury decision making, eye witness identifications and plea bargaining. As a mentor for the Gator Teens program, Cochrane has helped mentor at-risk youth weekly and coached high school students on setting important life goals. Her hometown is Wellington, Florida.
University of Oklahoma 2015
BA in letters, concentration in constitutional studies
Lucy Gauthier graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in letters, with a concentration in constitutional studies and a minor in psychology. Gauthier was involved in Oklahoma’s Honors College, where she was also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, was the Letzeiser Award silver medalist, received the OU Award of Excellence, and appeared on President’s Honor Roll all four years. As an undergrad, Gauthier served in many leadership positions, including scholarship chair of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, vice president of her sorority, leadership scholar of the College of Arts and Sciences, and webmaster of the “Big Event,” a statewide community service event. Gauthier’s passion for horses led her to ride for OU’s eEquestrian team. For summer 2016, Gauthier will be working in the SEC Honors Program, Division of Enforcement, in Washington, D.C.
University of St. Andrews 2015
MLitt in modern history
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. Fiona pursued a master’s degree in history at the University of St Andrews as a Bobby Jones Scholar. Currently in her first year at Emory Law School, Fiona enjoys her classes and works as a research assistant for Professor Abdullahi An-Na’im on topics such as the human rights paradigm and the international death penalty debate. Fiona volunteers with the Emory Public Interest Committee, provides research support for the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, represents her class on the Student Library Advisory Council, serves as treasurer of the Emory chapter of the International Refugee Assistance Project, and is a member of the Public Interest Dinner Series. Fiona is exploring various legal practice areas, but has a particular interest in immigration issues and environmental law. In her free time, Fiona enjoys cooking, running, and yoga. Fiona hopes to complete her yoga teacher certification this year.
University of Tennessee Chattanooga 2015
BS in political science
A lifelong resident of Appalachia, Mathew Plott graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in political science and a minor in history. Plott has worked on campaigns at every level of government. He volunteered on Chris Anderson’s campaign for Chattanooga City Council, Gloria Johnson’s campaign for Tennessee State House, and Lenda Sherrell’s campaign for Congress. In 2014, Plott managed Gwen Tidwell’s campaign for Criminal Court Clerk in Hamilton County and Patricia Fountain’s campaign for Collegedale Commission. He has taken on a number of leadership roles within Democratic politics. He previously served as president of College Democrats of Tennessee and national committeeman of Tennessee Young Democrats. Plott currently serves as national membership director of Young Democrats of America.
University of Cambridge 2015
MPhil in international relations and politics
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—is dedicated to promoting human rights worldwide. She currently serves as a graduate assistant in Emory’s Office of LGBT Life, as well as an international law research assistant to Professor Abdullahi An-Na’im. Before law school, Nicole studied at the University of Cambridge, where she received a Distinction in the Thesis for her MPhil dissertation, titled “Trans* Theory and United Nations Discourse on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Kentucky in 2014 with a BA in gender & women’s Studies and international studies. As an undergraduate, Nicole 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. In her free time, Nicole can be found playing the banjo and writing bluegrass music.
Jin Hyung "Jin" Lee
Brown University 2014
BA in environmental studies
Jin looks forward to being an environmental lawyer upon graduation. She spent her 1L summer as a legal intern at EPA Environmental Appeals Board in Washington, DC. At Emory, she is secretary of the Environmental Law and Conservation Society, and is the executive online editor for the Emory Law Journal. She is currently externing at EPA Region 4, here in Atlanta, and will spend this summer at Latham & Watkins in its Washington, DC. Before law school, Jin spent her undergraduate summers as an intern for various environmental organizations: the National Park Service, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and The Ocean Project. At Brown University, she concentrated in environmental studies, played ultimate frisbee, and studied abroad in Stockholm. She continues to play ultimate frisbee in Atlanta, enjoys doing crosswords with breakfast, and DJs for WMRE radio station at Emory. Her hometown is Austin, TX.
Patrick Henry College 2014
BA in American politics and policy
Blake Meadows is a student attorney with the Turner Environmental Law Clinic. He is also a member of the Emory Moot Court Society and competes for the Jessup International Law team. In addition to these responsibilities, Meadows is also a member of the Emory Corporate Governance and Accountability Review where he recently published a work dealing with the EPA’s redefinition of “Waters of the United States.” Meadows is also a member of the Christian Legal Society and the Federalist Society. This past summer he split his time between the North Carolina Supreme Court where he interned for Justice Newby and the solicitor general’s office here in Atlanta. Outside of law school, 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.
Florida Atlantic University 2014
BA in English and philosophy
Since matriculating at Emory Law, Philip Olsen has worked in criminal defense with Arora & LaScala, LLC and with the Georgia Public Defender Council’s Appellate Division. Olsen joined the Emory Law Journal in 2015, and in 2016 was elevated to its editorial board. His student comment for the journal advocated expanding government contractor immunity. In 2015, Emory’s legal writing program named him an outstanding orator. Olsen graduated from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College summa cum laude in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy. While an undergraduate, he was a Henry Morrison Flagler Scholar and a Dr. Floyd F. Kochs Honors Ethics Scholar. One of his honors theses, on French political philosophy, won his school’s most prestigious writing award. Before coming to law school, Olsen worked as a policy intern for the American Podiatric Medical Association and was president of Florida Atlantic University’s debate team.
BA in philosophy and music
University of St. Andrews
MLitt in international political theory
Will Eye is executive notes and comments editor of the Emory Law Journal, a Dean’s Teaching Fellow, and lead violinist for the Emory Tango Ensemble. His journal comment was published in the Emory Law Journal, republished in ABA Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development, and won the nationally competitive ABA Law Student Writing Competition. Before law school, Will studied at University of St. Andrews as a Bobby Jones Scholar, where he was principal violinist for the University Symphony and a varsity rower. An alumnus of Emory College, he was a violinist for the Emory Symphony and a varsity rower. Previously, Will performed benefit concerts in Russia, Japan, and South Korea with Music Without Borders. Upon graduation, Will is joining Jones Day (Atlanta) and, in 2017, will serve as law clerk to Chief Judge Carnes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. 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 advocate. Currently, she is externing in Denver for the Honorable Judge John L. Kane for the District of Colorado and will join Holland & Hart as an associate in their environmental group after graduation. At Emory, she served as executive articles Editor of the Emory Law Journal, president of the Environmental Law and Conservation Society, student attorney in the Turner Environmental Law Clinic, and summer clerk with the EPA. Prior to law school, Jeni worked in sustainable agriculture in Appalachia, Kenya, Uganda, and Lesotho. She also interned with the agriculture committees for the US Senate and House of Representatives. She has published in law reviews and peer reviewed journals. Jeni is a Harry S. Truman Scholar and was named Virginia Tech’s Undergraduate Woman of the Year in 2010. Jeni enjoys riding horses and spending time outdoors with her fiancé, Chris.
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 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.
George Washington University
BA in international affairs and economics
Alyssa is excited to be joining the Atlanta office of Arnall Golden Gregory LLP after graduation. At Emory, she serves as a notes and comments editor for Emory Law Journal and participated in the Emory Summer Child Advocacy Program. Originally from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Alyssa graduated from the George Washington University in 2009, majoring in international affairs and minoring in economics. While at GW, Alyssa was president of the Amnesty International Chapter, a Model UN delegate, and a Professional Foreign Service Sorority member. She has interned at the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Peace Corps Headquarters, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Before law school, Alyssa served as a program assistant for Stability Operations at the US Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute. In 2010, she completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.
Vanessa Lopez 15L
University of Miami
MA in international administration; BA in political science and international studies
Doug Stephens 15L
University of Colorado
BA in international affairs
Sabrina Wilson 15L
Murray State University
BS in physics
Zachary Eyster 14L
BA in religious studies
Currently: Associate at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP in Atlanta
Sarah O'Donahue 14L
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
BA in political science and spanish literature
Currently: Staff Attorney, Georgia Legal Services Program, Farmworker Rights Division
JoAnna Smith 14L
BA in law and society; certificate in women, politics, and political leadership
Drew Stevens 14L
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