Two Auburn University students selected as Rhodes Scholarship finalists

AUBURN – Two members of Auburn University’s Honors College have been named finalists for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, one of the nation’s top academic awards. Seniors Erica Meissner of Ashburnham, Mass., and Krissy Voss of Paradise Valley, Ariz., will interview with selection committees in Birmingham, Ala., and Los Angeles, respectively, Nov. 19-20.

Scholarship winners will be announced following the interviews.

“Mentoring students with exceptional potential has been a key component of Auburn’s strategic plan, and Krissy and Erica are the best of the best,” said Auburn President Jay Gogue. “We’re proud to have them represent the Auburn family.”

“The Rhodes Scholarship stands at the pinnacle of all the national prestigious scholarships,” said Auburn Honors College Director Jim Hansen. “Having two finalists in a given year is hardly commonplace; it is a very special and extraordinary honor for any university. It says a lot about the remarkable quality of undergraduate education at Auburn and, especially, about the stellar character and academic record of the two young women who have earned this wonderful recognition and chance of a lifetime.”

Among criteria set forth in 1902 in the will of philanthropist Cecil Rhodes, each scholar must exhibit: literary and scholastic attainments; energy to use one’s talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports; truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship; and moral force of character and instincts to lead and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.

Meissner, who carries a grade point average of 4.0, is majoring in anthropology with a minor in sustainability within Auburn’s College of Liberal Arts. She is currently writing her honors thesis, focusing on community supported agriculture and community gardens.

Meissner is a four-year member of the Auburn University Women’s swimming and diving team, where she serves as team captain. A member of four academic honor societies, Meissner has garnered numerous awards for scholastic achievement.

“I went into the process with no expectations,” said Meissner. “I approached it as a learning experience and a chance to explore opportunities for my future after I get out of the pool. I looked at programs across the country and elsewhere, exploring places of interest for me in my field of study, and what I thought would be a great fit.”

Voss, who is majoring in chemistry in Auburn’s College of Sciences and Mathematics, has a grade point average of 3.91. For the past two years she has conducted research in organic chemistry and is a four-year member of the Auburn University gymnastics team.

“To me, this recognition means that if you believe in yourself, trust those who support you, work hard and aim high, you can accomplish more than you ever expected,” said Voss. “I believe that every student with ambition and work ethic can do great things. I am very honored by this award because it is a testament to the values of Auburn University and my parents.”

Among her many academic accomplishments, Voss was named the SEC Gymnastics Scholar Athlete of the Year for 2010 and the winner of the Leah Rawls Atkins Award, the highest honor a female student-athlete can receive at Auburn University.

“Being selected as a Rhodes finalist is an incredible honor for Erica and Krissy,” Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. “They represent our best and brightest and epitomize what it means to be a student-athlete. Having two finalists the year after Jordan Anderson won the Rhodes is a credit to Auburn University, our faculty and our outstanding student-athletes. The academic success of our student-athletes is one of our top goals, and they are clearly succeeding in the classroom.”

More information about the finalists can be found here.

(Contributed by Mike Clardy and Kendra Lee.)

Contact: Paul Harris, (334) 844-8731 (pah0005@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)