2024 Dean's Scholars Named at Commencement

At commencement on May 12, Interim Dean of the College Betsy Sandlin announced the recipients of the Dean’s Scholar award. Created in 2023 to recognize the top academic achievers in the graduating class, the award was given to five graduates of the College.

The 2024 Dean’s Scholars included: 

Rebecca Cole: A native of the Huntsville, Alabama, area, Cole undertook a double major in history and German and German studies. Cole studied abroad twice in Berlin, Germany, and completed a summer research fellowship with the city’s Stolpersteine project that formed the basis of two senior theses on Holocaust remembrance. Recognized as an Appalachian College Association Ledford Scholar in 2022, Cole was also named a German Academic Exchange (DAAD) Young Ambassador and served as the editor-in-chief of the Sewanee Purple.

Meridith Frazee: An English and natural resources double major from Charlottesville, Virginia, Frazee pursued a course of study rooted in both the humanities and STEM. A writing fellow for English 101 courses, Frazee’s English honors thesis focused on the theory of a “storyworld” functioning as a kind of closet in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! In summer 2023, Frazee studied subalpine forest species at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) in Gothic, Colorado. The work required Frazee to develop new science, which they then presented at the annual American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco this past fall.

Máté Garai: Originally from Budapest, Hungary, Garai graduated as a double major in physics and mathematics. A leader in the classroom and active researcher in the laboratory, Garai’s collected scholarly experiences included a six-week summer internship monitoring the effects of minerals under extreme pressure at the Institute for Planetary Materials at Okayama University in Misasa, Japan, an internship at the University of Tennessee where he studied the elemental composition of meteorite samples related to the asteroid 4 Vesta, and the creation of a Raman spectrometer for a seminar project at Sewanee. Earlier this year, Garai was a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

Silas McClung: A politics and American studies double major from Crossville, Tennessee, McClung pursued research interests across a variety of disciplines and topics in his time at Sewanee. A McCrickard Summer Research Fellow for the “Go Tell It on the Mountain” project, McClung has studied speeches and programs in the archives of the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly, collaborated with the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation, and published an article in the only undergraduate journal in German studies. His American studies thesis focused on the debate surrounding reparations. A tutor in the Center for Speaking & Listening and an integral member of the Interfaith House, McClung also represented Sewanee at a workshop at the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights in 2023.

Adri Silva: A politics major from Cleveland, Tennessee, Silva has engaged in significant scholarship on such challenging topics as U.S. immigration policy and the United States-Mexico border. Last summer, she conducted research in El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, as part of a National Science Foundation-funded project at New Mexico State University. A Canale site leader for Zeal for Education and Language (ZEAL) in Manchester, Tennessee, a Spanish tutor, and an internationally competitive gymnast, Silva was also honored with the Mary Sue Cushman Scholarship at the Foundation Day Convocation in 2022. Earlier this spring, Silva was selected as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, which will take her to Peru to teach for the upcoming academic year.

Dean’s Scholar award honorees were selected by the dean of the College in consultation with the associate deans of the College and members of the College’s Standards Committee. College faculty submitted nominations for consideration. Winners were chosen according to a number of factors, including GPA, the additional academic challenges they sought, having performed or presented for a broader audience, and for their contributions to Sewanee’s intellectual community.