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 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.

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 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 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” via starting October 1. We do not recommend using one of your admission recommenders for this letter. 

Scholars Weekend

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

During this interactive, two-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.)

Jin Hyung "Jin" Lee

Brown University 2014
BA in environmental studies

Jin Lee is currently a senior at Brown University, pursuing a BA in environmental studies. In 2012 she 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 & 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 is currently a senior at Florida Atlantic University, pursuing a BA in English literature and philosophy. He 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
2012 BA in philosphy and music

University of St. Andrews
2013 MLitt in international political theory

William Eye was a violinist for the University of St. Andrews Symphony Orchestra and a varsity rower for the University of St. Andrews Boat Club. He was also a violinist for the Emory University Symphony Orchestra and a varsity rower for the Emory University Crew Team. In 2010, he served as a Field Researcher, conducting site visits and interviews with Somali refugees and healthcare providers for the Emory Office of University-Community Partnerships. Eye was previously a violinst for Music Without Borders through the Long Island, NY Youth Orchestra where he performed an international benefit orchestral tour through Eastern Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Hawaii. His hometown is Baldwin, NY.

Jennifer "Jeni" Lamb

California Polytechnic Institute & State University
2010 BS in agriciultural & applied economics, BA in political science
2011 MS in agricultural & applied economics

Jeni Lamb was a Fellow at Appalachian Sustainable Development, a non-profit in Virginia. She has served as a Soya Beans Project Coordinator for Community Action for Rural Development, a non-profit in Kenya. Lamb was also an intern at the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry and the US House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. In 2010, she was named Undergraduate Woman of the Year, and in 2008 she received the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Foundation Academic Service Entrepreneur Grant. Lamb has been published in the Consilience Journal of Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Law and Policy Review. She was a Harry S. Truman Scholar in 2009 and the National Champion in Arabian Horse Judging in 2005. Her hometown is Boulder, CO.

Alyssa Pardo

George Washington University
2009 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 with a double major in political science and international studies. A native of Miami, she received a master's in international administration in 2011. Since 2008, she has served as a research associate for the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the university. Lopez has been published multiple times and appeared on PBS and other Spanish-language national media outlets regarding her work. She helped found the student organization UMCAUSA: Students for a Free Cuba. Lopez also has been actively involved in earthquake relief in Haiti and is fluent in Spanish.

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

Doug Stephens graduated from the University of Colorado with a BA in international affairs. Originally from Denver, he is a volunteer translator and interpreter for the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network. Previously, he served as a Latin American human rights advocacy intern for the Denver Justice and Peace Committee. He also was an Alternative Spring Break site leader at Shiprock Home for Women and Children and a volunteer/translator in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In addition, Stephens served as a volunteer for Peace Corps in Paraguay for more than three years. He speaks fluent Spanish and Guarani.

Sabrina Wilson

Murray State University
BA in physics

Sabrina Wilson lives in Rome, Georgia, where she owns and operates Blue Dawn Photography, a studio and on-location portrait and commercial photography business. Previously, she served as project manager for a life settlement company. Wilson has  taught high school geometry, honors algebra II, and honors pre-calculus, and was a home educator for her children. She was contracted by the Georgia Youth Science and Technology Center to aid in the implementation of a new physics-based middle school curricula. Wilson served four years as a lieutenant in the US Navy, where she taught nuclear physics and reactor principles and was named the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command's "Instructor of the Year." She graduated from Murray State University with a BS in physics.

Sarah O’Donohue

Vanderbilt University, 2010
BA in political science and classical studies

Sarah O’Donohue has served as a policy fellow in the Office of the Georgia Governor, where she assisted advisors to the state executive branch on issues regarding public safety, domestic violence, and education. She was also an SAT and ACT instructor and mentor to students in metro Atlanta public schools through the Princeton Review partnership courses. She is a former head resident advisor, a former legislative intern for the Tennessee General Assembly, a former legal advocacy intern for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and a former program assistant for the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center. O’Donohue served as a member of the Vanderbilt Women’s Center Advisory Board and volunteered at the YWCA domestic violence shelter. She worked to educate others about discrimination and sexual assault through the organization Peer Educators of Project Safe. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and the College Scholars Honors Program, she graduated summa cum laude with honors in the College of Arts and Science. She received the Mary Eleanor Steele Classics Award and the Nora C. Chaffin Award. Her hometown is Marietta, GA.

Laura Rivera

New York University, 2007
MA in journalism and Latin American studies
Emory University, 2003
BA in political science and Spanish literature

Laura Rivera was a reporter for El Diario/La Prensa in New York, where she wrote news stories and produced videos on local Latino communities and politics. She is a former staff writer for Newsday, co-director for Whose Barrio?, freelancer/intern for The New York Times and producer and correspondent for Cultura Viva, WIPR in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She co-directed a series of public service announcements for the Afro-Latin Forum’s Census 2010 campaign. In 2007, Laura participated in The New York Times Student Journalism Institute in Miami, where her story was one of two written by institute participants to be published in The New York Times. While at Emory, she served as president of the Emory University chapter of Amnesty International and secretary of the Emory Latino Student Organization. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Rivera resides in Conyers, GA.

JoAnna Smith

American University, 2007
BA in law and society, certificate in women, politics, and political leadership

JoAnna Smith has served as a program co-coordinator for Family Health and Birth Center, a program analyst for the US Department of Transportation, and an organizer/director for the DC Vagina Monologues. She served as deputy campaign manager for Citizens for Gretchen Lawyer, a consulting and training intern for Men Can Stop Rape, a hotline counselor/hospital advocate for DC Rape Crisis Center, a policy assistant for People for the American Way, and an intern for the Office of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. While at American University, she was executive director of American University Women’s Initiative and Peer Educator for the AU Wellness Center. In 2007, Smith received the Harry S. Truman Scholarship and the Jen Smyeres Woman of the Year Award. She also received the Volunteer of the Year Award at the DC Rape Crisis Center and the Rising STAR Award at the Department of Transportation. Her hometown is Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Drew Stevens

Baylor University, 2010
BA in sociology, minor in political science

Drew Stevens has served as an LSAT instructor for Kaplan Test Prep and a project team member for Project 254, a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting local business and poverty alleviation in Waco, Texas. He interned for the Waco District Attorney’s Office and is a former sales associate for Vector Marketing. While at Baylor, he served as executive service chair for his fraternity and as a member of the Student Advisory Board for Baylor University Campus Kitchens. He also served as Trek Group leader for a Tokyo Mission Trip. Stevens is a recipient of the John S. Belew Award for Outstanding Male in Community Service, the Charles M. and Jean Furr Tolbert Sociology Endowed Scholarship, the Baylor University’s Presidential Scholarship, and the Brian C. Pennington Scholarship. His hometown is Waco, Texas.

Steve Ferketic
Steve Ferketic 13L

University of Connecticut
BS, biology and political science

Donalee Donaldson
Donalee Donaldson 12L

Seton Hall University
BA, English honors, social & behavioral sciences

Laura Huffman
Laura Huffman 08L

Georgia Institute of Technology
BS, electrical engineering
Currently: Associate Intellectual Property Practice Group, King & Spalding LLP in Atlanta

Sara Walden Brown
Sara Walden Brown 02L

Mercer University
BA, French, English, philosophy
Currently: Associate at King & Spalding LLP in New York

Tony Balloon
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