Honored and Humble

When Emory College senior Melissa Roberts learned she had won the Marion Luther Brittain Award, she had to look it up on the University website to fully understand what it meant.

A fitting response, considering the highest student honor is awarded for service to the University without expectation of reward or recognition.

“It was a complete shock,” Roberts says. “I didn’t even know I was nominated. Once I learned what the award was all about, I was very humbled and honored to be selected.”

A native of Billings, Montana, Roberts received her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology. She is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar and also has been selected as a Bobby Jones Scholar, an honor which includes a full scholarship for a postgraduate year abroad at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, Emory’s sister institution. There, Roberts plans to study and conduct research in comparative health care and neuroscience. When she returns, she hopes to attend medical school.

Roberts served as a resident advisor for three of her four years at Emory and is described as “assertive, calm under pressure, friendly, service-centered and time-focused.”

She also excelled on the softball field, leading her team to a first-place finish in its conference. When Roberts joined the Emory Women’s softball team as part of the first recruited class during her freshman year, the program was just a year old. As co-captain, Roberts helped the team to three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III National Championship, and recently the team was ranked second in the nation among Division III schools by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Roberts has been named to the All-Region Softball Team for the past three years and also served as president of the Varsity Athletic Council as a senior.

At Commencement, before presenting Roberts with the award, Provost Woody Hunter announced that her team won the NCAA regional championship only the day before, and would be continuing to the national contest, to the cheers of her classmates.

“In spite of your accomplishments, you have remained modest and gracious,” Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life John L. Ford told Roberts at the award presentation.

The best thing about her time at Emory, Roberts says, was “the people I’ve met, and the ways in which I have been able to get involved in a lot of different areas and meet a lot of different people.”

But Roberts is proudest of her success on the softball field. “When I visited to see the school, the field had not even been built yet–it was a swamp,” she says. “We have taken the team from nothing to being really competitive nationally. I’m very proud of that.”



© 2003 Emory University