The Hatton W. Sumners Scholars Program at Southwestern recognizes and advances the achievements of some of the University’s most gifted and hardworking students. Recipients are chosen based on their demonstration of academic excellence, sense of civic responsibility and the potential for leadership.

Southwestern’s focus on interdisciplinary learning, collaboration between students and faculty, and opportunities for developing both in and outside the classroom mirrors Hatton W. Sumners Foundation’s commitment to education that creates independent thinkers and leaders. The focus on service and active involvement in community and civic problem solving provides students with a range of important skills: evaluating policy from a sound theoretical basis, understanding the key issues of our time, and participating fully in democratic decision making.

One key element of the Sumners Scholars program is participation in lectures and forums sponsored by the foundation, such as the Texas Tribune Festival and The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. The scholarships also provide recipients important recognition of their accomplishments, demonstrating to potential employers and graduate schools that these scholars are outstanding among their peers. By helping gifted young people reach their full potential, the foundation enriches the teaching and learning community for all students and faculty at Southwestern University.  

Southwestern Sumners Scholars

Five outstanding Sumners Scholars graduated from Southwestern in May. These high-achieving students include:

Grace Atkins

Grace graduated summa cum laude as a political science and Spanish major, with a concentration in international studies.  At graduation, Grace was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, as well as to membership in Alpha Chi, Southwestern’s first academic honors society. Grace has accepted full-time employment in Austin as a communications assistant for Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.

Riley Daniels

Riley graduated with a degree in communication studies. She maintains her interest in public policy and in encouraging more participation in the political process. Immediately after graduation, she attended the Sumners-sponsored Campaign Bootcamp.  Her long-term plans include enrollment in law school.

Hunter Jurgens

Hunter graduated magna cum laude in international studies and was named to Phi Beta Kappa in May. Hunter was a semifinalist for a Fulbright Research Scholarship to Taiwan and is currently pursuing employment. In the coming year he will also apply to graduate school in political science. 

Savannah Medley

Savannah transferred to Southwestern from a gifted student program at Mary Baldwin College. She was very active in campus politics and honor code activities and graduated with a degree in political science. She will begin graduate studies in political theory at the University of California Irvine in the fall.

Sontosha Orbin

Sontosha graduated with a bachelor of science degree in education. Sosha will pursue her long-term special interest in helping students with special needs at her job this fall at Kipp Austin Vista Academy, where she will work as a middle school special education life skills teacher.

Current Rising Sumners Scholars Seniors at Southwestern include:

Lacey Bowersox

Lacey continues her studies in international studies, political science and English, while volunteering with the Workers Defense Project and captaining Southwestern’s women’s lacrosse team.

Emilie Fisher

Emily is preparing for the LSAT and serves as the student body parliamentarian in Southwestern’s student congress. She recently began work with the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

Sophia Anthony

Sophia received a prestigious internship at the Dallas Museum of Art via the Dallas mayor’s internship program. She maintains her interest in art conservation with an emphasis upon social and educational impact.

Southwestern’s newest class of Sumners Scholars includes:  

Natalie DeCesare

Nancy is a political science major who received the university’s Emerging Leader Award for 2016 and made the Dean’s List. Her scholarships include Campaign Bootcamp, Emerging Leader, and Republican Leadership Initiative. She is currently assistant campaign manager for a congressional candidate, a grants researcher for Southwestern’s development office, president of the College Republicans, administrative assistant to Court Appointed Child Advocates of Williamson County, and a liaison to a new Rotaract Club.

Conner Joyce

Connor is majoring in political science and philosophy. He is on the Dean’s List, the Student Editorial Board, the Diversity in Education Committee, the American Moot Court Association, the Young Speakers of Austin, and Texans for Greg Abbott. He also works as a Student Ambassador in the Southwestern Office of Admission and as a freelance journalist for the Williamson County Sun and The Advocate.

Danyale Kellogg

Danyale is an international studies and history major who has worked in both the Texas House of Representatives for Richard Pena Raymond and in the United States House of Representatives for Diana DeGette. She is a member of College Democrats, a student government member, a Mood Scholarship recipient, and on the Dean’s List. She recently finished an internship with the Texas House Committee of Human Services and is currently interning with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as part of the Secretary’s Honors Program. In the fall Danyale will be in Seoul, South Korea studying American military actions in the Pacific Theater as well as the Korean language.

Camille Martin

Camille is a political science major who has been on the Dean’s List all of her semesters at Southwestern.  She is a varsity athlete in basketball, President of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship organization on campus, and social science representative to the student government. She is currently a state advocacy intern for Common Cause Texas and will be undertaking an independent study on how exposure to political incivility and political conflict on campus relate to student lives.


To learn more about The Hatton W. Sumners Scholars Program, or for additional information about scholarships or financial aid opportunities at Southwestern visit