Advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need

Foundation Names 43 College Seniors Across U.S. Recipients of Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholarships



LANSDOWNE, VA -- The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced today that it will award more than $8 million in graduate scholarships to 43 college students who are scheduled to graduate this spring.

The students (see attached list) attend colleges in 13 states and the District of Columbia and will each receive up to $50,000 per year to complete their graduate or professional degrees as part of the Foundation’s Graduate Scholarship Program. The 2003 awards bring to 93 the number of graduate scholarships awarded thus far by the Foundation.

“For many in the class of 2003, graduate school is only a dream because of costs and other factors,” said Dr. Matthew J. Quinn, Executive Director of the Foundation. “But these special young people will benefit from the vision of Mr. Cooke and will not have to put music school, medical school and other graduate programs on the back burner while they search for sources of funding.”

Dr. Quinn called the latest Jack Kent Cooke Scholars “a special, industrious group of students, most of whom have found the time to help others while also distinguishing themselves in the classroom.” The Scholars will study various academic disciplines including religion, public policy, medicine, philosophy, Italian studies, music, nursing, law, journalism and veterinary medicine. This year’s class includes:

  • A 13-year-old honor student, dubbed by one newspaper “the cleverest boy in the world,” who is the founder of International Youth Advocates (Gregory R. Smith, Randolph-Macon College)
  • An Asian-American and human rights advocate who grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown whose goal is to be a lawyer to safeguard those “who do not have the means to protect their rights as dignified human beings” (Gary K. Chow, Georgetown University)
  • A Russian émigré who witnessed her mother’s persecution for the high crime of owning Bibles. As an intern for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, she contributed to Operation Enduring Freedom by doing research on the experiences of Soviet POWs in the Soviet-Afghan War (Elena Fedorova, Georgetown University)
  • A 51-year-old cancer survivor who changed careers and will be attending Harvard to study religion. She hopes to become a college professor “because life is too short not to do things that are critically important” (Nancy S. Hutton, Mt. Holyoke College)
  • The starting center for the women’s basketball team at Loyola College in Maryland, who wants to be a veterinarian specializing in endangered species (Katie M. Netherton)
  • A single mom and optician who is graduating cum laude from the University of Maryland and will attend the University of Pennsylvania Law School with the hopes of practicing civil rights law (Arian M. Stewart)
  • An Eagle Scout who is deaf and who will study speech and hearing bioscience and technology at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Bradley N. Buran,University of Maryland)


To be selected as a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, Dr. Quinn said, “Individuals had to show not only exceptional academic ability, but also a strong will to succeed and other qualities including demonstrated critical thinking, a love of music or art, and appreciation for literature. Each of these attributes was important to Mr. Cooke.”

The 43 awardees were selected from a pool of 842 applicants. The scholarship winners include 24 women and 19 men. A group of 12 independent academic representatives, including college deans, professors and admissions officers from across the country assisted the Foundation in the selection process. Eight of the 43 had previously received undergraduate scholarships from the Foundation.

Dr. Quinn said the intention of the Graduate Scholarship Program is “not only to give students greater opportunities to further their education, but to give them freedom. Without the burden of graduate school debt, these Scholars will be free to pursue their artistic passions, to serve humankind through public service or medical research—to answer their highest calling.
I have no doubt that these students will help America and the world many times over as they continue on in life,” Dr. Quinn predicted.

"The selection of four of our graduates as Jack Kent Cooke Scholars is a wonderful tribute to the excellence of our academic programs and the quality of our students. We are very proud of them," said University of Maryland President C.D. Mote, Jr. "These awards will enable the students who receive them to focus their attention entirely on their graduate education. I know that all of us appreciate the generosity of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, and I am sure that the students will recognize opportunities in their future to give back generously as well."


The 2003 Scholars represent various backgrounds, and several have distinguished themselves through international projects they have been involved in while undergraduates, including:

  • Alexios Monopolis, of Baltimore, is an International Environmental Advisor and is actively involved in negotiations in the Balkans on biodiversity. He’s backpacked through nearly 30 nations.
  • Kristin Ondecko, of North Cabria, PA, is an aspiring physician who worked in Mexico in hospitals and poverty-stricken orphanages.
  • Zuzanna Szewczyk grew up in Yorktown, VA, where her parents settled after coming to the U.S. from Poland. An accomplished pianist, she will attend the Eastman School of Music in Rochester.
  • Jasmine Yoon came to the U.S. from South Korea when she was starting eighth grade and knew only a few English phrases. Four years later she was nominated for the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at the University of Virginia. While in high school she memorized words by mimicking the pronunciation of CNN news anchors.
  • Annika Hawkins of Johns Hopkins University led a research project to Peru in the Amazon jungle, examining and testing 250 children per day.
  • Johny (Vishak) John, a Wake Forest student, came to the U.S. from India when he was 13. He helped create a new service project at his college, The Tie That Binds, which worked at the Cheyenne River Lakota Reservation in South Dakota.

The award will provide funding for tuition, room and board, fees, and books for the duration of the Scholar’s approved degree program (no more than six years). Scholarship amounts will vary for each recipient based on several factors, including costs at the college or university he or she attends. The Scholars may use the award to attend any accredited graduate school in the United States or abroad.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, based in Lansdowne, VA, is a private, independent foundation, established by Jack Kent Cooke to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. The Foundation has become one of the nation's most prominent and generous scholarship providers. Its goal is to identify intelligent and involved students and help them carry out their dreams.


And Their Undergraduate Institutions

Rachel K. Alpert, Yale University
Alison S. Alvarez, George Washington University
Allison C. Bienkowski, Johns Hopkins University
Bradley N. Buran, University of Maryland
Joseph A. Canter, University of Maryland
Gary K. Chow, Georgetown University
Christopher B. Collins, Bridgewater College
Kristina L. Cooper, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Elena Fedorova, Georgetown University
Dorothy A. Fink, Georgetown University
Derrick C. Frazier, American University
Carey J. Gaughan, Georgetown University
Annika L. Hawkins, Johns Hopkins University
Daniel R. Hinson, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
J. P. Hornbeck, II, Georgetown University
Nancy S. Hutton, Mount Holyoke College
Johny John, Wake Forest University
Kirsten S. Johnson, University of Delaware
Timothy A. Johnson, University of Virginia
Vivian H. Kim, Johns Hopkins University
Ann Y. Lam, University of Maryland
Autumn M. Martin, Loyola College in Maryland
Nathan L. Maust, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Luke A. McLaurin, University of Notre Dame
Katherine A. Mearns, University of Virginia
Alexios N. Monopolis, Dartmouth College
Kathryn B. Moore, University of Virginia
Katie M. Netherton, Loyola College in Maryland
Stephen M. Ng, College of William and Mary
Kristin M. Ondecko, Washington and Jefferson College
Jillian D. Pena, Hollins University
Francesca J. Petrosino, Harvard University
Michael B. Pitt, University of Florida
Richard G. Reish, Tulane University
Chauntee N. Schuler, University of Richmond
Jacquelyn M. Singer, Maryland Institute College of Art
Gregory R. Smith, Randolph-Macon College
John St. Croix, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
Arian M. Stewart, University of Maryland
Zuzanna A. Szewczyk, University of Rochester
Michael B. Venn, University of Scranton
Marcia L. Winters, University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown Campus
Jasmine H. Yoon, University of Virginia






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