2019 YHC Graduate Awarded Prestigious Davies-Jackson Scholarship
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Young Harris College graduate Alejandro Lemus-Gomez, ’19, was recently awarded the Davies-Jackson Scholarship to study at St. John’s College at the University of Cambridge in England. The scholarship provides a unique opportunity for students with exceptional academic records who are among the first generation in their families to graduate from college. With only 28 recipients between 1990 and 2018, the Davies-Jackson Scholarship is a prestigious and rare honor. Lemus-Gomez is the first student from YHC to earn the scholarship and only the third from a college in Georgia.
Supported by an anonymous benefactor, the Davies-Jackson Scholarship covers all fees, room and board during term-time for up to two academic years, as well as living expenses during summer vacation. Travel to and from England is covered. The award is valued at $50,000, depending on prevailing exchange rates.
Founded in the 16th century, St. John’s College has about 750 students and is one of the most renowned of 31 colleges comprising the University of Cambridge, one of Europe’s oldest and most distinguished institutions of higher learning.
Lemus-Gomez graduated from Young Harris College this past December and is part of the class of 2019. He majored in English and minored in philosophy. Lemus-Gomez was born and raised in Miami, Fla., and moved to Young Harris, Ga. his junior year of high school.
“I am incredibly humbled and honored to receive this scholarship,” said Lemus-Gomez. “A smile has not left my face since opening up the email.”
While at YHC, Lemus-Gomez was involved with many student organizations, including the Student Inquiry Group for Humanist Thought (SIGHT), Multicultural Student Alliance, YHC Guitar Ensemble and Pre-Law Club. He participated in YHC theatre productions and served as a START Orientation Leader. Lemus-Gomez served as a member of honor and service societies like Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Chi, Alpha Psi Omega and the SPAT Club. He also worked with the SOLE (Student Opportunities for Leadership through Engagement) program, served as an assistant to the honors program director and worked as a phonathon caller.
While at St. John’s College at the University of Cambridge, Lemus-Gomez plans to study modern and medieval languages with a focus in Spanish.
“During my time at St. John’s, I hope to gain a higher fluency in Spanish, and ideally, other Romance languages,” Lemus-Gomez said. “For my own artistic and professional ambitions, I desire a more nuanced comprehension of these languages' syntax and musicality. Part of understanding a culture is knowing its tongue, and I wish to explore and connect with different cultures.”
Lemus-Gomez also has a strong interest in studying international human rights law. “Stories from my family members and my studies in the humanities made me painfully aware of the injustices that transpire in our world,” he said. “I yearn to develop my linguistic, critical and practical skills in ways that ultimately aid those whose freedoms and voice are stripped from them. Academically and artistically, I hope to study and write texts that address our lived experiences philosophically and poetically. The beauty of studying the humanities is realizing the range of disciplines one can work in. The prospect of one day writing poems and philosophical texts that move others in the way my professors and favorite writers have inspired me is exciting.”
Lemus-Gomez said his application for the Davies-Jackson Scholarship consisted of three short essays, two letters of recommendation and an institutional endorsement. He credits his mother for inspiring him to study hard and work toward his dreams. “My mother never finished her arts degree, forsaking her dreams of being a filmmaker, in order to escape Cuba,” said Lemus-Gomez. “In spite of never finishing her formal education, it’s thanks to her wisdom, persistence and courage that I developed the skills needed to reach this point in my life. Since kindergarten, she always told me, ‘You need to work hard if you want to be free.’ Even when it seemed like there wasn't a light at the end of the tunnel financially or academically for us, she pushed me beyond what I thought I could do. And now, I have the chance nearly every student has dreamed of. The day I got the email notifying me I was awarded the Davies-Jackson Scholarship, she told me, ‘Viste, poeta, se hace el camino al andar,’ which means, ‘You see, poet, the path is made by walking.’”
About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has three academic divisions: Arts and Humanities, Professional Studies, and Mathematics, Science and Technology, with more than 1,400 students enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga. has completed major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. LEED-certified campus improvements include the 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, residence facilities and a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit yhc.edu.