Nov. 3, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. --Auburn University has two Rhodes Scholarship finalists as Auburn student-athletes Erica Meissner and Krissy Voss were awarded with the honor. Meissner, a member of the Auburn swimming and diving program, was selected to be a District VII finalist, while Voss, a former Auburn gymnast, was selected to be a District XXVI finalist for the prestigious award.
The Rhodes Scholarships, founded in 1904, are the oldest international fellowships. Winners of the scholarship have the opportunity to do graduate work at the University of Oxford located in Oxford, United Kingdom.
"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."
Meissner and Voss are the second and third Auburn finalists, respectively, in the last two years. Former men's swimmer Jordan Anderson was a Rhodes scholar recipient last year.
"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."
A native of Ashburnham, Mass., Meissner is also a two-time College Swim Coaches of America Association (CSCAA) Academic All-American and a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member. Meissner currently holds a perfect 4.00 grade-point average and is majoring in anthropology with a minor in sustainability. She is currently working on her honors thesis with a focus on community supported agriculture and community gardens.
"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."
Meissner enters her senior year as a returning All-American and was named one of the team's captains for this season. She has been one of Auburn's top point-scorers in the backstroke events on both the SEC and NCAA levels the past three years.
"I went into the process with no expectations," said Meissner. "I approached it as 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."
"I am so happy for Erica," said Auburn head swimming and diving coach Brett Hawke. "This is an amazing accomplishment and I'm very proud to have her as the team captain and a leader in the classroom and in the pool. She is a fantastic young woman and is very deserving. It also says a lot about our program to have her as a finalist after Jordan Anderson was named a Rhodes Scholar last year."
Voss, a College of Sciences and Mathematics senior, was a four-year member of the gymnastics program and was named the 2010 SEC Gymnastics Scholar Athlete of the Year. She was a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and was named to the National Association of College Gymnastics Coaches Women's Scholastic All-American team and a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
"I'm very honored to be finalist," said Voss. "I'm thankful to Auburn and my family for teaching, challenging and supporting me to be who I wanted to be and who I have become. It's the Auburn family that has placed me in this position of opportunity."
The Paradise Valley, Ariz., native holds a 3.91 grade-point average and is majoring in chemistry with a minor in Spanish. She is also a member of The University Honors College. For the past two years, Voss has conducted research in organic chemistry where she successfully completed synthesis of two dienes, which are used as models for the visual system. She was the recipient of the Dan L. Philen endowed scholarship for chemistry at Auburn in 2009.
"I didn't apply because it's a fancy award," said Voss. "This is more of an opportunity to better myself and to give back to others. My goal is to make steps towards the prevention and treatment of blindness, so this wasn't for my self-esteem, but rather just a great opportunity to do something good."
The next step for Meissner and Voss will be a two-day interview process, Nov. 19-20. Meissner will be interviewed in Birmingham, while Voss will go through the process in Los Angeles. They will join 12 other finalists from each district and from that pool, two will be selected as scholarship winners.