UAB student receives first Obama-Chesky scholarship for public service – News


Lexie Woolums, a student in the Honors College and Environmental Sciences at UAB, has been selected to join the first cohort of the Obama-Chesky Fellowship for Public Service, or Voyager Fellowship.

Lexie Woolum
Photography: Steve Woods
A junior from University of Alabama at Birmingham received the Obama-Chesky Fellowship for Public Service. Alexandra “Lexie” Woolums of Mobile, Alabama will join the inaugural class of 100 recipients from across the United States.

The scholarship, also known as the Voyager Scholarship, was created by Barack Obama and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky to provide meaningful financial assistance combined with transformational travel for students with a passion for public service. Woolums, a junior pursuing a personalized degree in Environmental sciences and a minor in English through UAB College of Arts and Sciences with a public health minor from School of Public Healthwas selected from a pool of nearly 1,800 candidates.

“It was an unreal feeling when I saw ‘Congratulations!’ under a photo of President Obama and Brian Chesky appear in my inbox,” Woolums said. “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to this summer to see how it will help me grow as a student, professional and defender.”

Woolums began her career at UAB as an undeclared major, but found herself drawn to projects and courses dealing with environmental policy and the human relationship with the natural environment. As her interest turned into a passion, she notes her time at UAB Specialized college and as an intern in the Office of Sustainability provided invaluable resources that enabled her to learn, grow, and prepare for the rigorous Voyager Fellowship application process.

“We are extremely proud of this important recognition for Lexie Woolums,” said Kecia Thomas, Ph.D., Dean of the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. “Lexie’s career at UAB so far reflects excellence through the integration of the humanities, science, and public engagement. I look forward to seeing what comes next for this scholar. emerge.”

Woolums was weighing her options after graduation when she applied for the scholarship in hopes it would give her the opportunity to network and better understand the path she might want to follow.

“Currently, my main area of ​​interest is improving environmental policy to preserve biodiversity and improve human health,” Woolums said. “I look forward to the summer work travel experience because I know that gaining work experience outside of Alabama is critical to challenging my outlook and improving my overall understanding of privacy. environment and policies that can have a positive impact on the lives of many.”

“It’s exciting to see a Blazer among the first cohort of Voyager Fellows,” said Michelle Cook, Ph.D., director of UAB. National and International Scholarships Office. “This award presents a truly life-changing experience in that it enables recipients in financial need to pursue service opportunities and internships that might otherwise be unavailable to them. This is the perfect opportunity for Lexie to expand her utility portfolio in preparation for future competitive exams, graduate school, and beyond.

Read more of Woolums story here.


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