Home » News » College Students from North Carolina, Estonia Awarded Prestigious DeJoy-Woś Scholarships

College Students from North Carolina, Estonia Awarded Prestigious DeJoy-Woś Scholarships


Louis DeJoy, North Carolina business leader and current U.S. Postmaster General, his wife and former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia Dr. Aldona Woś, and The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) announced the 2023 recipients of the DeJoy-Woś Family Foundation Scholarship. The students, all of whom have ties to North Carolina or Estonia, were selected from a competitive pool of applicants. Recipients received tuition and housing scholarships to attend TFAS programs in Washington, D.C., this summer.

Laurel Holley ’22 connects with Louis DeJoy at the Annual TFAS Scholarship Dinner.

This year’s scholarships benefit outstanding students with ties to North Carolina and one from Estonia. Eden Briley was selected from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Maxwell McCarty and Jenna Rupp were selected from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Ava Cofiell was selected from Wake Forest University, Mara Cooper from High Point University, Abigail Lee from Elon University, and Raleigh native Tanner Nau from Rhodes College. Sandra Vosaste, a native Estonian, was selected from Estonia’s University of Tartu.

I am so thankful to TFAS and the DeJoy-Woś Family Foundation for helping me gain an opportunity to intern in Washington, D.C. this summer.” – Mara Cooper ’23

The DeJoy-Woś Scholarship program has been funded for 18 years by the DeJoy-Woś Family Foundation. This year marks the first year of a new gift of $500,000 to be distributed over five years.

2023 DeJoy-Woś scholars pose with Louis DeJoy and Aldona Woś at the 33rd Annual TFAS Scholarship Dinner.

“On behalf of the entire DeJoy-Woś Family Foundation, we’re proud to offer this scholarship for students,” said DeJoy. “Access to these programs and educational opportunities is critical in shaping the future leaders of America. I’m proud to know that the recipients of these scholarships will use the lessons they learn this summer to better the world around them for future generations.”

The TFAS program pairs students with internship opportunities in their field of study. This summer, students are working with Congressional offices, government agencies, trade associations and policy groups in Washington, D.C. In addition to experiential learning at their internships, students are taking courses at George Mason University, attending site briefings at major institutions of government, and participating in guest lectures by leaders from a variety of professions.

“TFAS is grateful for the continued generosity of Louis DeJoy, Dr. Aldona Woś, and the DeJoy-Woś Family Foundation,” said Roger Ream ’76, TFAS president. “Their support is a testament to how vital these programs are. We greatly appreciate their incredible commitment to TFAS’s educational mission.”

Aldona Woś connects with TFAS students in Washington, D.C.

DeJoy currently serves as the 75th U.S. Postmaster General, a role he was appointed to in May 2020 by the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service. Formerly, he was the chairman and chief executive officer of New Breed Logistics. Dr. Woś served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia from 2004 to 2006 and as head of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services from 2013 to 2015. Woś also served as vice chair of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, one of the nation’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. She is currently the president of the Institute of World Politics.

Mara Cooper, a recipient of this year’s scholarship and participant in TFAS’s Business + Government Relations Program track, is grateful for the opportunity to build life-long connections through TFAS.

“I am so thankful to TFAS and the DeJoy-Woś Family Foundation for helping me gain an opportunity to intern in Washington, D.C. this summer,” Cooper said. “My experience has been eye-opening and filled with lifelong connections that I could not have made anywhere else. I cannot wait to take the next steps in my future with the skills I have developed over the course of this summer.”

Louis DeJoy meets with student at the Annual TFAS Scholarship Dinner.

DeJoy-Woś scholar Tanner Nau, who participated in the Public Policy + Economics Program track, says his TFAS experience has been a transformational professional and personal journey.

“Attending the TFAS summer program has been an incredible journey thus far,” Nau said. “It has already been filled with transformative experiences, professional development, and valuable personal connections that will have a lasting impact on my education and career to come.”

This year marks the 53rd year of TFAS hosting summer programs. This summer, nearly 300 students will attend TFAS’s variety of programs in Washington, D.C. Program graduates will join a global network of 47,000 TFAS alumni who serve as leaders in politics, government, public policy, business, philanthropy and the media.

2023 DeJoy-Woś Scholars

Eden Briley

Education: University of North Carolina, Wilmington
Major: Criminology
Hometown: Holly Springs, North Carolina
Internship: USDA – Rural Development

Eden Briley recently graduated from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington with a Bachelor of Arts and completed a four-month internship with the Brunswick District Attorney’s office in May. Before graduating, Eden was widely engaged across UNCW’s campus and worked in the following offices during her three years there: the Honors College, Office of Housing and Residence Life, Office of International Programs and the English Language Center. Her student involvement and on-campus positions varied, but her primary focus was to enrich the experiences of her fellow Seahawks by mentoring, advising and supporting others. While at UNCW, Eden also studied abroad at the University of Stirling in Scotland during the Fall 2021 semester. Additionally, Eden was widely involved in research during college and completed five semesters of research across the fields of criminology, forensic psychology and criminal justice.

Ava Cofiell

Education: Wake Forest University
Major: History
Hometown: Malvern, Pennsylvania
Internship: kglobal

Ava Cofiell is a rising senior thoroughly invested in writing, communication and the humanities. As a writer for Wake Forest’s newspaper and a student with published research on the American Revolution, Ava is articulate, detail-oriented and interested in communicating ideas to the public to the best of her ability. Last summer, she was a marketing intern near the Philadelphia area, and in the fall, Ava studied history and journalism in Vienna.

Mara Cooper

Education: High Point University
Major: History
Hometown: Pooler, Georgia
Internship: U.S. Fashion Industry Association

Mara Cooper is a presidential scholar who just completed her sophomore year at High Point University. She is on the Dean’s List and is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success. Last summer, she completed an internship with the administrative department at the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah, Georgia. Mara serves her community as a First Year Navigator for incoming freshmen; through Growing High Point, where she helps package and deliver freshly grown produce to senior citizens; in the D-Up after-school enrichment program; and at the Community Writing Center. She currently serves as the vice president and secretary of the Sigma Mu chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and is a diversity mentor on her campus. She is a member of the history, LASO (Latin American Student Organization) and BCA (Black Cultural Awareness) clubs. Her plans are to become an intellectual property attorney and create a philanthropic organization devoted to helping underprivileged children in low-income areas.

Abigail Lee

Education: Elon University
Major: Business Analytics
Hometown: Rumson, New Jersey
Internship: Electo Analytics

Abigail Lee just completed her sophomore year of college. She is the treasurer of her sorority and is involved with philanthropy events around campus. Abigail will be studying abroad in the fall in Florence, Italy. Some of her interests include fashion, cooking and shopping. Abigail is enjoying experiencing a new city and meeting new people this summer.


Maxwell McCarty

Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Major: Peace, War and Defense
Hometown: Mills River, North Carolina
Internship: Potomac Institute – Science & Technology Policy

Max McCarty is a peace, war, and defense and public policy major with a minor in Russian culture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he has just completed his junior year. He is a published author in the Fall 2022 edition of the Journal of Foreign Affairs at Carolina and is a founding member of the nonprofit organization One for the World’s UNC chapter. Through this organization, the chapter was able to raise more than $39,000 in anticipated donations. Max has also traveled abroad to France, Italy and Croatia to explore his interests in foreign affairs and European history.

Tanner Nau

Education: Rhodes College
Major: Politics & Law
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Internship: Office of U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry

Tanner Nau recently completed his sophomore year at Rhodes College, where he plays football and was selected as Academic All-SAA. Since August of 2022, he has worked as the social media coordinator for the Bastiat Society of Raleigh. In conjunction with the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), this program holds monthly speaking events about limited government policies and free markets. In the summer of 2022, he was a communications intern at the John Locke Foundation, a state public policy think tank in Raleigh, North Carolina. He assisted with media relations efforts, social media content production and market competitor research. In addition, he published four policy articles for the Locke Foundation and an op-ed in the Carolina Journal about GOP campaign strategy in the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial race. While interning at the Locke Foundation, he was also a Summer Academy Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, serving on the executive council as secretary for the Theta chapter. Tanner is an avid reader of political and economic history and is particularly interested in early American political thought and 20th-century free-market economic thinkers.

Jenna Rupp

Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Greenville, North Carolina
Internship: DT Institute

Jenna Rupp is a rising senior on a pre-law track with an interest in cross-national fields of law. She currently works as a policy intern for the North Carolina Collaboratory drafting policy briefs for the N.C. General Assembly in addition to working as a researcher for the jury profiling company Jury-X. Jenna works as a reporter for The Daily Tar Heel covering city and state news and is involved in university organizations including Zeta Tau Alpha, the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, the Immigration Law Association and the Sports and Entertainment Law Association. She is active in her political community, with experience as a page for her representative in the North Carolina House of Representatives. She spent her last summer studying abroad in Greece learning about travel journalism. In her free time, Jenna enjoys watching UNC basketball and football, spending time with her dogs, and volunteering for her sorority’s philanthropy: Breast Cancer Education and Awareness.

Sandra Vosaste

Education: University of Tartu
Major: Law
Hometown: Voduvere, Estonia
Internship: Joint Baltic American National Committee

Sandra Vosaste is passionate about criminal law, law enforcement and national and international security. She has previously interned with the prosecutor’s office and the police forces of Estonia, but she has also broadened her horizons by working as a summer reporter at the largest weekly newspaper in Estonia. She currently works at a law firm where she assists partners in matters of white-collar crime. Last year, she was the president of the European Law Students’ Association’s Tartu branch, the town where she attends university. She was also a member of team Estonia in the International Criminal Court’s Moot Court competition. Sandra spent an exchange year in Austria and lived in India for six months doing volunteer work. This February, she spent a week above the Arctic Circle studying maritime law with other European law students at a winter school in Tromsø, Norway. Sandra has had the opportunity to visit more than 30 countries as a traveler, some of the most memorable experiences being backpacking through Indonesia, participating in a drama camp in a small town in the middle of Russia and exploring the ghost town of Pripyat in Ukraine.


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