WRHS Senior Awarded Emory’s Full Scholarship

Emma Schroeder, Writer

While schools and universities are still deliberating how to reopen their doors next fall, students are still making plans to continue on with their education. Senior Grace Kessler is looking forward to an exciting new chapter in her life as she begins her collegiate experience at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her decision to attend this school was influenced by a sizable scholarship offer that she earned through her accomplishments in high school policy debate. 

“I received the Robert W. Woodruff Debate Scholarship. The Robert W. Woodruff Debate award provides full tuition, fees, and room and board for up to eight semesters of undergraduate study at Emory University – an estimated value of more than $275,000,” Kessler said. 

Kessler’s scholarship also grants her access to a multitude of academic and career-building opportunities that are not available to most students. 

Receiving this scholarship also comes with a spot in the Emory Scholars Program which includes around 15-20 students per grade. Members of this program benefit from specialized scholar advising, priority class registration, and activities designed to connect you to other scholars and the wider Emory community. Emory Scholars are also eligible for additional funding to support summer experiences such as study abroad, research, and internships at home and abroad. I’m hoping to take advantage of those opportunities to study abroad one summer at no cost,” Kessler said. 

To qualify for the scholarship, Kessler said Emory was interested in a number of qualities that they believe create strong students. 

“Emory was looking for students who demonstrated ‘exceptional intellectual curiosity, creativity, leadership, and motivation to make a difference in your community’. Applying was not very difficult. I just had to submit my college application in early November and fill out a separate application for the specific debate scholarship I received,” she said.  

Emory typically emphasizes in-person interviews as a major decision factor as well, but this year’s interviews were conducted in a more unorthodox fashion. 

“For the interview process, all finalists were supposed to spend several days at Emory in March, stay with a Scholar, talking to faculty, and going through interviews and other events. However, this year the interviews were online because of COVID-19. I had two group interviews with a few other finalists, faculty, and current Emory Scholars. The interviews were discussions that measured our creativity, ability to work with others, leadership, and other important skills,” Kessler said. 

While the future may be uncertain in the short-term, Kessler’s hard work in high school has paved the way for a fulfilling four years at Emory University.

“I plan on majoring in political science and minoring in economics. I may explore some sort of minor or degree in international studies as well, but am very excited for the liberal arts education that Emory offers!” Kessler said.