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Nov. 19, 2007

Two Columbians Win Rhodes Scholarships

Two Columbia College seniors were named Rhodes Scholars by the Rhodes Trust this week.

Jason R. Bello

Jason R. Bello

Seniors Jason R. Bello and George C. Olive III were among 32 American men and women chosen as Rhodes Scholars in their respective geographical regions Nov. 17 – Bello from the Massachusetts region and Olive from Missouri. Each student will receive all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England, including a living and a vacation stipend. The award amounts vary but total approximately $45,000 per year.

“I feel very fortunate to have won,” said Bello, 21 years old. “All of the other candidates in my region were so impressive. I feel incredibly lucky to be chosen because I literally think it could have been any one of us.”

George C. Olive III

George C. Olive III

Olive, 22, is interested in development economics and the environment, and credits his professors for supporting his research interests and goals. “I came from a public school in Springfield, Missouri and I’ve been so fortunate to attend this incredible institution to study these exact fields,” he said. “I won this scholarship because there were several professors who were willing to take a chance on me, true educators who are truly invested in their undergraduates.”

This year, 16 Columbians applied for the Rhodes and nine were finalists, according to Michael Pippenger, associate dean of the office of fellowship programs at Columbia College. Pippenger works with students applying for national and international fellowships on all aspects of their applications, from their research proposals to personal statements. Last year, Columbia had three finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship. This is the first time in five years that a student from Columbia University won the prestigious award.

“This is great for the Columbia community to see the hallmarks of a liberal arts education embodied in these students,” said Pippenger. “We hope that more students will continue to apply so that they can pursue their intellectual dreams.”

Related links

2 With Bay State Ties are Rhodes Scholars, Boston Herald, Nov. 19

Missourians Make Rhodes Scholars List, Kansas City Star, Nov. 18

Seniors End 5 Year Rhodes Drought, Columbia Spectator, Nov. 19

Columbia Gets Back Into Rhodes Ranks, New York Sun, Nov. 19

Bello, from Boston, majors in political science and economics with a minor in linguistics and plans to pursue the master’s in comparative government at Oxford. Here at Columbia, he is active in student politics, where he is co-president of Columbia’s Gayava, the LGBT Jewish Student Organization, and an executive board member of the Columbia Political Union and Black Students Organization, where he serves as the group’s historian. He also hosts a gourmet cooking show on CTV, Columbia’s undergraduate television station, called “The Careless Cook.”

Olive, from Springfield, Mo., is studying economics and environmental science at Columbia with an interest in development economics. He plans to get a master’s degree in economics at Oxford. Olive has published a paper in Geology and conducted research in the Caribbean, India and South America. The focus of his projects range from climate change to alternative energy technologies to hydroelectricity, and he has done work on sustainable energy for the governments of the Dominican Republic and Papua, New Guinea.

This year, 764 students in the U.S. were endorsed by 294 different colleges and universities in their bids to become Rhodes Scholars. The Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest and most widely known award for international study, were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904. With their fellow winners, Bello and Olive will enter Oxford in October, 2008.

— Story by Melanie Farmer.