UA Rhodes Scholar finalists, though not chosen, learn from experience

Two University of Alabama students were chosen as finalists for the American Rhodes Scholarships this semester, and though neither was awarded the scholsarhip, both felt the process prepared them for their future and taught them about themselves in the process.

Emma Fick, a senior majoring in English, and Hannah Hicks, a senior majoring in philosophy and religious studies, were both selected as finalists for the Rhodes Scholar program, an international fellowship that fully finances 32 recipients from more than 300 American universities to pursue a degree at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Both Fick and Hicks said they started their application process in the spring, working directly with Brad Tuggle, the campus representative for the scholarship, and the University’s Committee of Prestige Scholarships and Awards. After survivng two rounds of University-level cuts and interviewing with the committee, they submitted a 1,000-word personal statement, a two-page resume, eight letters of recommendation and an academic transcript to their district committees.

“I was breathless when I found out I was named a finalist. That had been my goal from the start,” Fick said. “That immediate thrill was tempered, however, by the quick realization that I had a lot of work to do in preparation for the district interview stage.”

On Nov. 16 and 17, Fick traveled to Houston, Texas, and Hicks to Birmingham, Ala., for a final 20-minute interview.

In Birmingham, Hicks attended an informal cocktail and dinner at the home of her district’s committee chair, where committee members evaluated the 14 finalists for the Alabama, Georgia and Florida district seven.

“Attending the finalist weekend was perhaps the greatest honor of all,” Fick said. “I got to meet young, compassionate people from such a wide range of disciplines, and getting to know them reminded me of how much hope and energy our generation will bring to the world.”

Fick said her hard work paid off even though she did not win the scholarship.

“The entire Rhodes application process has prepared me for applications down the line,” Fick said.

Hicks encourages others to apply to the scholarship program, noting that the process was not as scary as she originally thought it would be.

“I learned a lot about myself in the process,” Hicks said. “It was a very rewarding experience, and I met so many great people that will be future leaders in society.”

 

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