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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 | Fax (410) 516-5251

May 1, 2002
CONTACT: Amy Cowles
(410) 516-7800

Tara Johnson Wins
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship

Tara Johnson, a Johns Hopkins University senior from Kingsville, Md., has been selected as one of the first 50 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholars, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced today.

The scholars, ages 19 to 50, receive up to $50,000 a year for up to six years to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field at an accredited university. Johnson will receive a degree in biomedical engineering later this month and plans to further her studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. She is one of seven Johns Hopkins University students chosen for this inaugural award.

Raised in a family that places a high value on education, Johnson, 22, knew early in her academic life that she wanted to study engineering and prepare for a career in medicine. At the same time, she also wanted to pursue her study of the French horn because of her lifelong passion for music.

Johnson spent the last four years completing what is typically a five-year double-degree program in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins and musical performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. While she knows that she will have to specialize later in life, she says she has "embraced this opportunity to diversify" in college.

In addition to her course work, Johnson participated in several biomedical research projects. She has also found time for a range of volunteer activities, including serving as an academic advisor and tutor and as a member of the Johns Hopkins University Band and Choral Society. As a volunteer for the Child-Life program at Johns Hopkins Hospital, she enjoyed working with children to help improve their quality of life during their stay in the hospital. Johnson has also made rounds with her father, an orthopedic surgeon whose work has been an inspiration to her throughout her life. She compares surgery to a symphony, "with many individuals working in a concerted fashion, each contributing something of importance throughout the procedure," and says that she would find it "highly rewarding to be a member of such a team."

After completing medical school and a surgical residency, Johnson expects to become a surgeon in academic medicine. She believes her class work, volunteer experiences, clinical exposure and extracurricular activities have prepared her well for that career. Johnson believes that she will enjoy sharing her enthusiasm while teaching residents and medical school students.

Johnson is a member of several honor societies, including the Golden Key Honor Society, the Engineering Honor Society and the Biomedical Engineering Honor Society. She received the General Electric Faculty for the Future Fellowship, is a Maryland Distinguished Scholar, and a Robert C. Byrd Scholar.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation identifies young people nationwide who have shown unique overall excellence, both in academic endeavors and in extracurricular activities. The purpose of the foundation is to reward young men and women for unusual intelligence, application, deportment, and character. The first class of recipients reflects a wide diversity of interests, all aiming to be the best in their fields.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation established by its namesake to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential. Cooke was a businessman, sportsman, and philanthropist who owned the Toronto Maple Leaf baseball club, the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, and the Washington Redskins football team. He also owned the Chrysler Building in New York City, newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and cable television stations. When Cooke died in 1997, he left most of his fortune to the foundation, which has more than $500 million in assets.

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