Two students in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi have been named 2010 Barksdale Award Scholars. Audrey Seal, a junior elementary education major from Ridgeland, and Taylor McGraw, a sophomore public policy leadership major from Oxford, will receive $5,000 each for projects they propose for this summer. Seal has designed an educational camp for at-risk youngsters in Greenville. McGraw plans to observe and chronicle the lives of New York City residents living on the fringes of an urban economy.
Douglass Sullivan-González, dean of the Honors College, announced the winners during the college’s annual spring convocation Monday evening.
“Thirty children will be following what Audrey calls ‘a roadmap to success,'” Sullivan-González said. “Her six-week exploration of 19 cities provides an exciting impetus for developing reading, math, science and social skills.
“In New York, Taylor will listen to the stories of how certain people came to the Big Apple and what their lives are like. He will certainly come away with a richer sense of common and uncommon humanity.”
The recipients said they were honored and challenged by their awards.
“Being offered this award is just another way the Honors College is supporting my strong beliefs that a quality education is an essential tool that we should all possess,” Seal said. “I will use the award to help provide lunch and snacks, books and other educational resources used during the camp I will be putting on in Greenville.”
“The Honors College is counting on me to follow through on my goal, so the award is more than an honor; it is also a challenge,” McGraw said. “The funds will cover my living expenses for my dorm at New York University, meals, travel and, hopefully, some equipment.”
Seal is the daughter of Sid and Zina Seal. A graduate of Terry High School, she serves as vice president of communications for Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority. Seal also volunteers at Leap Frog, a nonprofit after-school tutoring and enrichment program for first- and second-graders in the Oxford and Lafayette County school districts, and enjoys travel and cooking in her spare time.
McGraw is the son of Jo Ann O’Quin, UM professor of social work, and Ken McGraw, retired UM professor of psychology. A graduate of Oxford High School, he is an Associated Student Body senator and on the Ole Miss forensics team. When not reporting for the campus newspaper, McGraw plays intramural sports and volunteers as coach for a youth soccer team.
Established in 2005, the Barksdale Awards are designed to encourage students to think in their own terms about the world, its possibilities and problems. Applicants must decide what they want to accomplish and how they’ll go about it, then persuade the selection committee that they are both passionate and capable, ready to go alone into that dream.
Past recipients have traveled to Kenya, Switzerland, Spain, Senegal, Malawi, Uganda, Dubai and Tanzania to complete research projects in public health policy, poetry, music, AIDS treatments, micro-financing, art and economics.