SACKVILLE, N.B. — Mount Allison University is proud to announce that biochemistry and international relations student Caroline Whidden of Brookside, N.S. has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship.
Valued at more than $100,000, the scholarship is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world. Whidden is Mount Allison’s 51st Rhodes Scholar and the 10th Mount Allison student in past 12 years to receive the award. Mount Allison has more Rhodes Scholars per capita than any other institution in Canada.
“I felt this was quite a shot in the dark, so what this means for me is still really sinking in,” she said. “It is an opportunity for sure — it opens a lot of new doors.”
Whidden will graduate in May 2013 with a double degree — a bachelor of science majoring in biochemistry and a bachelor of Arts majoring in international relations.
The Rhodes Scholarship, which celebrates its 110th anniversary in 2013, selects 83 students from approximately 20 countries around the world, and covers the cost of postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford in the U.K.
Whidden is planning to apply to Oxford’s Masters of Science in Global Health Science program.
Her long-term plans include working in the field of global health, either as a medical doctor, working with an NGO, or working on research to help improve global health.
“Caroline is an extraordinary student and we are so proud of her,” said Mount Allison president and vice-chancellor Dr. Robert Campbell. “Becoming a Rhodes Scholar is an incredible achievement, one that lays the foundation for future success. We at Mount Allison are pleased to have been part of helping Caroline reach this milestone and I commend our faculty and staff for the effort they put into creating a learning environment where students can achieve their full potential.”
Whidden’s interest in global health was sparked by a trip to Tanzania, Africa during the summer between high school and university, where she taught English to 75 Grade 1 students at a local school. Prior to the trip, she had planned to study science, then go on to medical school.
“I realized if I wanted to go back or really understand what I saw, I would have to learn more about how the world works,” she says. “I knew nothing about international politics or economics or the colonial legacy. If I wanted to go back, I knew I should learn those things and I thought Mount Allison offered me a great opportunity to do that.”
Whidden said Mount Allison allowed her to tailor her degree to meet this dual interest, combining science with studies in international relations.
“What I really will take away from Mount A is that I have developed a style of learning that keeps my mind open to different perspectives and allows me to maintain a broad focus,” she says. “The reasons I came to Mount A in the first place are not the reasons why I love it now. One of the reasons I love it now is that it has fostered such a unique culture of learning for me.”
Whidden has been deeply involved in Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization, throughout her time at Mount Allison. She played for the varsity soccer team for two years, participated in the swing dance club, and was on the executive of the Atlantic International Studies Organization (ATLIS). Whidden is also a Bell Scholar — the recipient of a Bell Achievement Award, one of Mount Allison’s most prestigious entrance awards, valued at $36,000 over four years.
She is the daughter of Joan Scattolon and Calvin Whidden.