A Rhodes scholarship for study at the University of Oxford is one of the pinnacle achievements an undergraduate can earn. American Rhodes scholars have gone on to become senators, secretaries of state, even president. More than 1,500 of the brightest Americans apply each year. Of those, 200 are invited to interview as finalists. Only 32 received Rhodes scholarships last year.
There is something synergistic about spending time with people who have huge hopes and dreams.
Sarah Hotovy (’12) of York, Neb., was one of those 200 finalists who traveled to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a reception and intensive interview.
The experience of competing with ferociously intelligent peers and weathering an interview process that resembles an eclectic intellectual obstacle course is enough to make most students sweat. Hotovy reveled in it.
“There is something synergistic about spending time with people who have huge hopes and dreams,” said the biochemistry, molecular biology and political science major. “It is truly empowering.”
As for the interview, Hotovy said, “I was asked a broad range of questions about things that I love to talk about, from the effect of women’s empowerment in developing countries, to the U.S. health care reform legislation, to obstacles to health in Indonesia, to the current U.S. political climate.”
While she was not selected as a Rhodes scholar, Hotovy said she was grateful for the entire experience.
Hotovy will graduate in May with a bevy of powerful experiences to her name. She has served in China and Indonesia. She interned on health issues with Senator Ben Nelson, sang in the University Choir, was elected student body vice president and homecoming queen, served on the university’s Board of Governors, co-taught a Liberal Arts Seminar and golfed for the Prairie Wolves.
Through it all, she found tremendous support on campus. “I am so thankful for those who had faith in me,” Hotovy said. “I am incredibly blessed to have the support that I have at Nebraska Wesleyan.”