Gholson Awarded Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship


Photo of Joe Gholson

James “Joe” Gholson has been named a Slater Fellow by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. He plans to attend Harvard Medical School in the fall.


May 5, 2009 – James “Joe” Gholson of Harrisburg, Ill., a senior biology major at Southeast Missouri State University, has been awarded a $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship for graduate study as he continues his education at Harvard Medical School during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Gholson was recognized April 19 at the annual induction ceremony into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, one of the oldest and most distinguished interdisciplinary honor societies.

Gholson has been named a Slater Fellow, a fellowship awarded to the top ranked student nationally in the biological sciences.  Gholson was selected based upon his impressive record of academic service and record of service at the University and in the community. The $5,000 fellowship is to assist in covering the costs of the recipient’s first year of graduate or professional study.

Every year, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi awards 60 Fellowships of $5,000 each and 40 Awards of Excellence of $2,000 each to members entering the first year of graduate or professional study. Each Phi Kappa Phi chapter may select one candidate from among its local applicants to compete for the Society-wide awards.

Southeast chartered its Phi Kappa Phi chapter in 1992. Since then, Southeast has had six students who have been awarded the Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship and three who have received an Award of Excellence.  Gholson is the first Southeast student to receive a named Phi Kappa Phi fellowship.

Gholson, who was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi last year, will graduate this May with a 4.0 grade point average.  He scored in the 97th percentile on the MCAT exam, placing his score among the top four scores to be achieved by Southeast students over the past 17 years. Only three percent of the 20,000 students internationally who have taken the MCAT in the past five years have scored at the 97th percentile or higher.

Gholson has been the recipient of the President’s Spirit of Southeast Award, the Governor’s Scholarship, the Lambda Chi Alpha Outstanding Brother Scholarship, and the Chemical Rubber Company Top Freshman Chemistry Student Award. He has been named to the Dean’s List for academic achievement every semester from fall 2005 through fall 2008.

Gholson spent last summer in Southeast Asia aboard the USNS Mercy, a Military Sealift Command hospital ship which serves as an enabling platform to assist humanitarian operations ashore in collaboration with host nations and international relief organizations. Gholson also worked as a research intern for NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center last fall for 15 weeks, studying the West Nile Virus.

While on campus, Gholson founded the Southeast Dance Marathon which has raised approximately $44,000 for medical care over the last three years. He co-founded the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-professional health honor society and currently serves as co-president. He has been an active member of Lambda Chi Alpha, and was named Greek Week Man of the Year in April. Also at Southeast, Gholson served as vice president of and a senator on Student Government. In addition, he has been the student representative to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board and also holds memberships in Omicron Delta Kappa, Beta Beta Beta, Phi Eta Sigma and Order of Omega.

“From the moment he walked on campus, Joe Gholson has been a doer,” said Dr. Chris McGowan, dean of Southeast’s College of Science and Mathematics. “He has done more, started more and been involved in more things than any student I have ever known.”

Gholson said, “I am honored to be recognized by Phi Kappa Phi as the organization’s top biological science student. It is exciting to see my academic and philanthropic endeavors recognized at a national level.  This award will allow me to purchase quality medical equipment and a laptop, while reducing my loan burden.  I am truly grateful for the generosity of Phi Kappa Phi.”

From its humble beginnings in 1929, the Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship Program has become of the largest and most respected scholarship programs in the country, allocating more than $800,000 to outstanding students for first-year graduate study.

Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. Its chapters are on more than 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Each year, approximately 30,000 members are initiated.

Since its founding, Phi Kappa Phi has initiated more than one million members into its ranks.  Phi Kappa Phi is a global network comprised of the best and brightest from all academic disciplinesᾰa community of scholars and professionals building an enduring legacy for future generations.

The multidisciplinary nature of Phi Kappa Phi is reflected in its Fellowship and Award of Excellence recipients. Awardees represent a variety of fields, including biology, chemistry, engineering, political science, mathematics and psychology. Likewise, the professions they select are equally diverse: law, medicine, business, education, science of the arts.