Alexander Wang, a senior at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) majoring in Social Research and Public Policy, has been chosen as a 2014 Rhodes Scholar to study at the University of Oxford in England — a prestigious honor received by just 80 undergraduates around the world annually. Thirty-two American men and women were chosen as 2014 Rhodes Scholars; they will join approximately 50 other scholars from around the world.
Wang, a member of NYUAD's inaugural class, is the first NYUAD student to ever win the award. He was recognized for his high academic achievement, integrity, respect for others, and potential for leadership. At NYUAD he has devoted considerable energy to promoting volunteerism in Abu Dhabi, and has focused on exploring issues related to labor and migration. He plans to focus on migration studies once he enrolls at Oxford.
"Many contemporary scholars and policy makers that I have admired over the last four years while studying in Abu Dhabi have been Rhodes Scholars," said Wang, 21, who grew up in the US state of Pennsylvania. "Being part of this incredible network of scholars, and an intellectual pedigree that extends from the turn of the 20th century to now, feels incredible."
Established in 1902 by the will of the late British businessman Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholarship is one of the world's oldest and most recognizable awards for international fellowship and academic study. Applicants are selected in a two-stage process that includes endorsement by their college or university, followed by in-person interviews. This year approximately 1,750 students sought their institution's endorsement; 208 applicants from 91 colleges and universities reached the final stage of the competition.
Notable past recipients of the Rhodes accolade include former US president Bill Clinton, astronomer Edwin Hubble, author Naomi Wolf, and the Nobel Prize-winning pharmacologist Lord Howard Florey, whose work led to the discovery of penicillin.
Al Bloom, NYUAD Vice Chancellor, said: "NYU Abu Dhabi students amaze me by their capacity to combine extraordinary intelligence and intellectual passion with the resolve to build communities on campus and beyond, reflective of a better world. Among those students is Alex. He has built a record of stellar academic accomplishment at NYUAD, both across the curriculum and in the area of his particular interest in global migration and labor issues. His exceptional intellect combines with the confidence and leadership skills of a historic agent of change, and his wisdom, compassion, and humility ensure that his contributions will help advance a more inclusive, just, and peaceful world."
Wang, who in April was named a Truman Scholar, said his experience studying in Abu Dhabi, and within the NYU global network, was what made his dream of becoming a Rhodes Scholar possible. "I cannot imagine any other university in the world that would have given me the kind of individualized attention and care that the faculty and administrators here provide on a daily basis. Further, I can't imagine another university in the world where I would have had the opportunity to study with students and professors from such a diverse array of backgrounds — all of whom serve as a perennial source of inspiration and new thinking."