Ogden Awarded Second Smith Scholarship
"Scholarship and activism are interdependent entities" believes Joslyn E. Ogden, the second recipient of the W. Smith Scholarship. This mature Davidson College senior, from Roswell, Ga., a political science and religion double-major, will continue to put her words into action as she studies abroad next year.
Awarded to only one exceptional senior at Davidson each year for "outstanding academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, and service to the community," the Smith Scholarship was established by Tom Smith, a 1948 alumnus from Greenville, S.C. The Smith Scholarship is similar to the internationally-known Rhodes Scholarship, as it supports for postgraduate study at a major university outside of the United States.
Ogden plans to pursue study of theological ethics at either Oxford University in England, the University of Bristol in England, or the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She still awaits word from these three universities. Dr. Lou Ortmayer, Political Science Professor and chair of the graduate scholarship and fellowship committee has a very good feeling about Ogden's admission chances. "She has a strong academic record, exceptional faculty recommendations and support from the college," he stated.
Academically, Ogden ranks in the top 10 percent of her class at Davidson, a requirement for the scholarship. She is also a leader among her peers. Though she does not boast her leadership abilities, they are evident from her involvement on and off campus and from how others describe her.
Rob Spach, Davidson Chaplain, knows Ogden well through her involvement with weekly campus worship services and a Bible study focused on combining a critical academic approach with practical application. She also participated in a "reverse" mission trip to El Salvador led by Spach to help students grow spiritually from immersion in the cultural environment. Spach said, "When I'm working with Joslyn on anything and she takes responsibility, I have complete confidence that she'll do it well, in a timely fashion, and with the big picture in mind." He has been particularly impressed with her leadership in the campus worship services; she leads music with her guitar, helps organize the services, and serves as a speaker. He describes her as "intrepid."
An Active Leader
Ogden serves and leads on campus in very thoughtful and determined ways. In addition to working with the chaplain's office, she has been the student government chancellor, participated on the women's issues committee, led Davidson Outdoors' trips, served as a resident advisor, and chaired the service council and the Honor Council.
As a service council co-chair at Davidson, Ogden initiated and planned a "summit on service," bringing together community members, students, faculty, and staff to discuss volunteer opportunities and how to guide future service efforts.
Of her leadership on the Honor Council, Ogden said, "This has been the most challenging experience of my Davidson career. There is no greater affirmation of my vocation to study religion with an emphasis in ethics as when I participate in an honor council trial."
The Smith Scholarship tops an academic career studded with scholarships and awards. Ogden holds the William Holt Terry scholarship, a full scholarship for leadership and academics, the Foster G. McGaw Scholarship, which recognizes excellent academic credentials, demonstrated leadership qualities and potential to make positive contributions to society; plus a Rotary Scholarship and the Roswell High School Foundation Scholarship. She has also been awarded the Agnes Sentelle Brown Award for character, scholarship, and leadership at Davidson, and she holds the top Girl Scout Gold Award.
Ogden looks forward to furthering her education internationally. She has already spent a semester studying in Beijing, China, volunteered as a health worker in Paraguay, and participated in the reverse mission trip to El Salvador. She believes that simply living in the international setting provides "a real opportunity for growth."
Beyond studying abroad next year, Ogden plans to attend divinity school with the goal of ordination and perhaps further pursuing a Ph.D. in religion to enlist in the ranks of academicians. She says she seeks to integrate "the ideas of great thinkers and actions of great leaders into the concrete experience" of her life.
Ortmayer said of the scholarship selection committee's choice, "We look for a self-confident, self-sufficient person who's really going to make the best of this opportunity. She is very articulate, very intelligent, resourceful, and confident."
Because the Smith Scholarship is the "flagship scholarship for this institution created by an alumnus," as Ortmayer put it, someone who will maximize use of the scholarship is essential. The Smith scholars, "will help recruit and define that scholarship for students who follow them," said Ortmayer.
Tom Smith, the scholarship's benefactor, is a lifetime member of the Board of Visitors, recipient of a Davidson Alumni Service Award, and director of the John I. Smith Charities, a family foundation.