Nebraska Wesleyan University Student Reflects On Being A Rhodes Scholarship Finalist
A Nebraska Wesleyan University senior says her recent experience as a Rhodes Scholarship finalist has reaffirmed her commitment to making a positive impact on the world.
Sarah Hotovy of York was one of 200 students in the nation selected as a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship. The finalists were interviewed November 19 and 32 winners were selected. The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the world's top undergraduate academic honors.
“There is something synergistic about spending time with people who have huge hopes and dreams—it is truly empowering,” Hotovy said after her interview. “This entire experience has reaffirmed my commitment to finding a career in which I can make a positive impact upon the world.”
Rhodes Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate high academic achievement, integrity of character, spirit of unselfishness, leadership potential, and physical vigor. Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. The award is valued at $50,000.
Hotovy learned she was a finalist in early November. She joined other finalists in Colorado Springs, Colo. for a reception followed by 25-minute interview the next day.
“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 current the U.S. political climate,” she said.
Hotovy will graduate from Nebraska Wesleyan University in May with majors in biochemistry, molecular biology and political science.
Her interest in science started as a young child, spending time in her small-town medical clinic where he father is a physician. With full intensions of becoming a small-town medical doctor as well, Hotovy enrolled at Nebraska Wesleyan and became active on campus and in the Lincoln community where she volunteers with Clinic With A Heart, a free clinic dedicated to serving those without access to medical care, and Guidance to Success, a student group that tutors refugees.
“My work paired my interest in health and a newfound fascination with how governmental policies influence how citizens live their daily lives,” said Hotovy.
Hotovy followed that fascination through an internship in Senator Ben Nelson’s office where she worked on health care reform. As a member of Nebraska Wesleyan’s Global Service Learning organization, she traveled to China where she volunteered on an organic farm in a small village and at a migrant school in Nanjing. She spent the past summer in Indonesia as one of 10 U.S. undergraduate students in the Freeman Indonesia Nonprofit Internship Program, where she spent two months interning at a NGO dedicated to protecting the rights of street children.
At Nebraska Wesleyan, Hotovy is a member of the University Choir, Student Affairs Senate, the women’s golf team, the university’s Board of Governors; is a Liberal Arts Seminar student instructor, and is a member of several academic honoraries. She served as vice president of the student body during the 2010-2011 academic year.
Over 1,500 students in the U.S. apply each year for a Rhodes Scholarship with approximately 200 reaching the final stage of the competition. Despite not winning the Rhodes Scholarship, Hotovy said the experience is one she’ll never forget.
“I am so thankful for those who had faith in me, who helped me polish my application, who conducted mock interviews, and who encouraged me throughout the entire process,” she said. “I am incredibly blessed to have the support that I have at Nebraska Wesleyan.”
Nebraska Wesleyan has had three Rhodes Scholarship winners, with the most recent in 2006.