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OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has named this year’s class of Trent Lott Leadership Institute Summer Scholars, which includes more than 40 exceptional rising high school seniors from across the United States and two foreign countries.

The Lott summer scholars program began in 2000, providing a unique experience in which students come to the UM campus, earn college credit and hone their leadership skills. More than 1,300 students applied to the program this year, and after a rigorous review process, 43 were selected to participate in the two sessions.

"The selected students are some of the best and brightest," said Jason Wilkins, coordinator of precollege programs in the UM Division of Outreach. "They are the future leaders of our country: the congressmen, senators, governors and civil servants. Our goal is to be a facilitator of their development by providing a base knowledge of our political system and instruction in speech and debate.

"Moreover, we are building relationships between future leaders that bridge geography and background. I have no doubt that one day a U.S. senator from North Carolina will be able to say he or she first met the U.S. senator from Mississippi when they were both Lott summer scholars at Ole Miss."

Included in the program are opportunities to mingle with college administrators and student and community leaders while participating in current event debates, discussions and decision-making activities. The goal is for the students to put their new skills to work for the betterment of their own communities when they return home.

The program culminates with a one-week trip to the nation’s capital. Following completion of their studies at UM, Lott Scholars travel to Washington, D.C., to visit with federal officials, including the Mississippi congressional delegation and U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran.

Students also tour the Capitol, National Archives, Smithsonian Institution and other attractions. They also engage in discussions with leaders in industry and in the nonprofit sector.

Lott Scholars enroll in Political Science 101: Introduction to American Politics, which emphasizes constitutional principles of the U.S. government. In the course, students investigate political procedures, electoral processes and political institutions. They also take Speech 102: Fundamentals of Public Speaking, in which they learn to organize, prepare and deliver speeches in a variety of public forums.

The Lott Leadership Institute Summer Scholars for the June session are: Stephanie Ballard of Oakman, Ala.; Laura Bryant, Olive Branch; Jose Domingo Esquitin Hinzpeter, Puebla, Mexico; Elizabeth Duarte, Naples, Fla.; Michael Eisenstatt, Memphis, Tenn.; Jason Ervin, Lacombe, Ala.; Wesley Gordon, Columbus; Austin Harrison, Louisville; Haley Hartley, Jacksons Gap, Ala.; Conor Kirkman, Searcy, Ark.; Lawson Mason, Helena, Ala.; Miracle McKennis, Nesbit; Katie Parker and Lauren Wright, Tupelo; Qualla Parman, Webbers Falls, Okla.; Sarah Robinson, Brandon; Brian Spurlock, Raymond; Joshua Stark, Oxford; Jake Taylor, Rome, Ga.; Lucy Woodley, Shreveport, La.; and Guy Wood, Pass Christian, Miss.

Students selected for the July session are: Jessica Jarumi Rustrian Alba of Estado de Mexico, Mexico; Alikiah Barclay, Pompano Beach, Fla.; Hannah Beth Barkley, Oxford; Melissa DeSantiago, Walterboro, S.C.; Ryan Ezelle, Union; Suzanne Floyd, Greenville, N.C.; Jennifer Graham-Macht, Brandon, Fla.; Daniel Hamm, Selmer, Tenn.; Molly Harris, East Greenwich, R.I.; Ray Mays, Darling; John McDaniel, Jonesboro, Ark.; Pared Moffat and Thomas Skelton, Jackson; Jordan Moore, Columbus; Danielle Muita, Gastonia, N.C.; Viktor Mylonas, Thessaloniki, Greece; Andrew Orso, Plant City, Fla.; Clifford Owl, Murphy, N.C.; Mary Robinson, Fort Worth, Texas; William Schleier, Dallas; Andrew Swain, Tequesta, Fla.; and Kelsey Ward, Ramona, Okla.

For more information about the Lott Leadership Institute, go to

by Janey Ginn


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