Grand County High School graduate Robin Willscheidt who is nearing completion of a bachelor’s degree at Stanford University has been selected to receive a prestigious scholastic award for being among the top students in her graduating class.
On April 6 Willscheidt will be presented with the J.E. Wallace Sterling Award. It is based on overall academic performance and is presented to the top 25 students of each year’s graduating senior class who majored in a humanities and sciences department or program.
When being made aware of the award, Stanford officials told her, “Congratulations on a truly outstanding academic record! The Sterling Award is one of our most selective academic awards.”
The award was named for the late Stanford President J.E. Sterling who served from 1949 to 1968. During that time the university achieved national prominence, in part through Sterling’s efforts to create what he called “steeples of excellence;” clusters of top scholars that would attract the best students in the country.
Also honored at the ceremony will be the secondary school teacher that Willscheidt felt was the most influential educator while she was in high school: GCHS teacher Allison Brown. Brown and Willscheidt’s parents Danette Johnson and Kirk Pearson will travel to the ceremony at the Stanford campus in California, where they see Willscheidt receive the award. Also part of the ceremony is recognition of the academic advisor that Willscheidt felt was most influential in her college career. She chose Professor Michael Wilcox from the Stanford Anthropology Department.
Upon Willscheidt’s selection of Brown to share in her honor, she said, “Allison cares deeply about individual students and their specific needs. She was one of my greatest educational advocates and role models—she not only expected more of me in the classroom, but also encouraged me to think big about my goals for higher education. Her consistent preparation and constant dedication set an example for me that laid the groundwork for my success at Stanford.”
Willscheidt will graduate from Stanford this summer with a 4.1 grade point average. She was the GCHS valedictorian of the 2015 graduating class. At Stanford she is majoring in political science with minors in art history and archaeology. While in college she has studied abroad and worked in Berlin. She also participated in the Stanford in Washington program where, along with her course work, she completed an internship at the Cultural Programs Division at the U.S. Department of State.
Her academic travels also took her to Sicily where she worked with an archaeology center to excavate a shipwreck.
On campus she has volunteered through the AmeriCorps Justice Corps program at the San Mateo County Superior Court Family Law Facilitator’s Office, helping with divorces, child custody issues, and domestic violence restraining orders. She has worked as a research assistant in heritage studies and Bay Area archaeology, and worked as a lead student ambassador for the Bing Overseas Studies Program. Next quarter she will be starting an internship in the legal office at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
After she graduates, Willscheidt will travel to Sydney, Australia for a three-week Stanford seminar in indigenous arts/history. After that she plans to seek employment in arts administration and/or cultural programming for two years. Following that she plans to attend law school.