Episcopal grad wins prestigious scholarship _lowres

Mary Elizabeth Barksdale

Mary Elizabeth Barksdale, a recent Episcopal High School graduate, was one of 34 recipients of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation’s Jefferson Scholarship.

She plans to attend the University of Virginia.

To be named a scholar, candidates must undergo a rigorous, competitive, multistage selection process, a news release said. This year, out of the approximately 1,800 students nominated for the scholarship, 120 finalists were invited to take part in a five-day competition at the University of Virginia, which included seminar discussions, essay and mathematics examinations, as well as interviews conducted by the university’s alumni and faculty.

While at Episcopal, Barksdale was elected to the Honor Council; presented her thesis: “Of Monsters and Men: A Study of Popular Culture’s Monsters and Their Influence on the Social Psyche” at the Southwest Popular Culture Association Conference; was a leader on the varsity basketball and varsity powerlifting teams; and was a member of both the jazz and concert band.

She was a founder of True 2 You, an organization mentoring middle school girls; served as a writing fellow in the Episcopal School Writing Center; served as an ambassador to the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Conference; and attended Louisiana Girls State, where she was recognized as Outstanding Senator.

She was the class salutatorian and graduated with honors. She received Episcopal School’s Webster Cup, the highest honor awarded by the school, which is given to the senior who has epitomized excellence in scholarship, in service to the school and the community, in character and in involvement in school activities.

Barksdale will join a community of 138 Jefferson scholars this fall. In addition to receiving the full cost of attending the university for four years, Jefferson scholars benefit from a number of enrichment programs sponsored by the foundation, including travel abroad, career networking activities, an outdoor challenge program and a leadership speaker series, the release said.