One of the most critical parts of the screening process for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship is the interview, where potential candidates have a chance to bring their impressive accomplishments into even richer perspective for members of the selection committee.
For Isabelle Roach, the interview went well, and she came out feeling like she'd represented herself accurately. She began to let her mind drift to what it might be like to be a recipient of one of the world's most sought-after awards.
“I let myself think about what it would be like to get the scholarship and imagined getting to go there," she says.
Even so, she still wasn't convinced it would happen, so when it did, she was even more thrilled.
“I was ecstatic. It is a dream come true,” says Isabelle, who last week became the 32nd student from the University of King’s College to receive the Rhodes.
Since 1902, the Rhodes Scholarship has provided the opportunity for students to pursue graduate studies in any area of choice at the University of Oxford.
Following her passion
Isabelle will be traveling to England to study neuroscience as a master’s student at the university. “I have always wanted to study in England, that’s been a dream of mine for a long time,” she says.
Isabelle currently works as a research student with Dr. Alon Friedman, a professor and Dennis Chair in Epilepsy Research in the Department of Medical Neuroscience at Dal.
“Right now, I am following what I am passionate about, which is neuroscience,” she says. “I also care a lot about the environment and environmental change, something that the world has to address at a level of policy sooner rather than later. And by sooner, I mean immediately.”
At Oxford, she says her focus will remain on trying to “understand the intersection of the environment and healthcare.”
Isabelle’s interests in athletics and the liberal arts led her to King’s. “I chose King’s because I wanted to come to play for the volleyball team here,” she says. “I also wanted to do their Foundation Year Program. It’s a first-year program where you go through a lot of history and philosophy - I really wanted to do that.”
Best of both worlds
At the same time, she wanted to pursue her interests in science, so she enrolled at Dal. “I started taking courses at Dalhousie in my first year at King’s. I took first-year biology and first-year maths, and I have been taking courses at Dal ever since.”
“All of the biology courses at Dal are great. They cover a really wide breadth of material. I found that was great for solidifying my interest in biology,” she says.
“I find that I get all the benefits of being in a small university by being a King’s student and all the benefits of being in a big university like Dalhousie,” she says. “Dal has a ton of courses, a lot of resources, especially in the science departments. I am getting the best of both worlds.”
“In her four years at King’s and Dalhousie, Isabelle has made an indelible mark on her academic community, excelled at athletics, and created opportunities for her fellow students to become environmental stewards,” said King’s President William Lahey in a news release last week. “We are incredibly proud of her many accomplishments.”
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