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Department of Sociology and Anthropology

University of Mississippi

Sociology major, Madeline Cook, among ten UM first-years named 2017 Stamps Scholars

January 2, 2018 By | UM News

Stamps freshmen 2017 are, from left: Tyler Yarbrough, Madeline Cook, Robert Wasson, Tori Gallegos, Eleanor Schmid, Matthew Travers, J.R. Riojas, Kennedy Cohn, Harrison McKinnis and Chinwe Udemgba. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation.

OXFORD, Miss. – Ten members of the 2017 freshman class at the University of Mississippi’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College have the distinction of being Stamps Scholarship recipients.

This year’s cohort consists of Kennedy Cohn of Incline Village, Nevada, Madeline Cook of Flowood, Victoria “Tori” Gallegos of Chicago, Harrison McKinnis of Madison, J.R. Riojas of the Wool Market community of Harrison County, Eleanor Schmid of Cincinnati, Matthew Travers of St. Louis, Chinwe Udemgba of Natchez, Robert Wasson of Jackson and Tyler Yarbrough of Clarksdale.

For a second straight year, UM was among only four universities to award 10 or more Stamps Scholarships to incoming students. The Stamps Scholarships at Ole Miss have become the most comprehensive, full scholarship packages for in-state and out-of-state students.

“We are so pleased to be welcoming another tremendously gifted cohort of Stamps Scholars to the University of Mississippi,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “Through our partnership with the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, we are able to attract truly remarkable students from Mississippi and all over the country.

“We look for great things from our Stamps Scholars as they pursue unique and exciting educational opportunities and contribute to the academic excellence on our campus.”

With its partner universities, the Stamps Foundation seeks students who demonstrate academic merit, strong leadership potential and exceptional character. Through the foundation, students have access to funding to engage in internships, undergraduate research or other professional development activities.

Potential Stamps Scholars are invited to campus for a special weekend visit to get an in-depth look at the university’s academic programs, as well as opportunities to interact with campus administrators and students.

Stamps Scholars are ambitious and goal-oriented, with leadership skills and hefty visions, but who, above all, love learning and doing extraordinary things with confidence, Cook said.

“I love being in a community of confident, incredibly capable and smart students, who all have big plans and small egos,” said the International Studies, Sociology and Spanish major who has concentrations in global health and Latin America. Cook also is a member of Mississippi Votes, College Democrats, Global Ambassadors and Rebels Against Sexual
Assault, and is an announcer for Rebel Radio.

Her goals are to complete a language immersion program in Spain and volunteer with the Mississippi Immigrants’ Rights Alliance in Jackson.

“I’m extremely interested in the intersection of human and labor rights and public health, and in the future, I’d like to do work with NGOs in Chile, Bolivia or Argentina doing research on indigenous rights-justice movements and access to health care,” Cook said. “I can see myself working full-time for some kind of social rights and justice-oriented nonprofit or policy coalition, or an analyst for the State Department or even (as) a Foreign Service officer in Latin America.”

The Stamps Scholarship is an amazing opportunity, said Gallegos, who is majoring in international studies with a Russian minor. She is a member of the Associated Student Body Freshman Forum, Delta Gamma sorority and Russian Club.

“Everyone is unique and has a story to tell,” she said. “The additional enrichment funds allow me to pursue research and travel outside the classroom without adding financial burdens.”

Launched in 2006 by Georgia native Roe Stamps and his wife, Penny, the program has grown to include nearly 40 partner schools throughout the country with more than 1,600 current and alumni scholars.

To learn more about the Stamps Foundation, visit