Read the November 2008 Columbia Alumni
This month's edition includes information about an election night special, a health and wellness seminar on autism and an online career networking panel discussion.
Jisung Park, a Columbia undergraduate double-majoring in economics and political science, has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest and most renowned international fellowship for recent U.S. college graduates. Park is one of 32 scholars nationwide who have been selected to study at the University of Oxford in England toward the fulfillment of a degree.
Image credit: Jisung Park
"Jisung is a dynamic scholar who wants to use his knowledge for the benefit of public service," said Michael Pippenger, associate dean of Columbia College's Fellowship and Study Abroad Programs. "Rhodes scholars exhibit tremendous leadership, courage and innovation in their thinking—and Jisung certainly embodies those traits."
Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study and may allow funding in some instances for four years. Rhodes candidates must be endorsed by their college or university. This year, 769 applicants were endorsed by 207 different colleges and universities. Last year, two Columbia students, Jason Bello and Mark C. Olive III were chosen as Rhodes Scholars.
Park will begin his studies at Oxford next fall to pursue a master's degree in nature, society and environmental policy. He is particularly interested in environmental economics, the international political dimensions of environmental problems, and sustainable development.
"The first class I took at Columbia was 'Challenges to Sustainable Development' with Professor Jeffrey Sachs," said Park, whose family is originally from Korea and now live in Connecticut. "I had always been interested in the interplay between economic activities and the natural environment, but Sachs' course really opened my eyes to the concept of sustainable development."
Park also credits Columbia College's Core Curriculum for inspiring him and laying the foundation on which he has built his academic and professional interests. After his studies at Oxford, Park hopes to enter a doctoral program in sustainable development and to eventually work in public policy.
According to Pippenger, behind every Rhodes candidate is a team of faculty, staff and peers who help to refine students' applications and better prepare each for the scholarship interview.
"This is a community effort. Jisung's selection as a Rhodes Scholar is not only a reflection of his personal accomplishments but also the dedication and expertise of our faculty, who are committed to guiding students in this challenging process," said Pippenger.
Park worked closely with Columbia faculty who helped him with mock interviews, while students reviewed his applications. Park also worked with staff in the Office of Academic Affairs, who encouraged him to "think about what his scholarship would mean for his discipline, for Columbia and the wider world," said Pippenger.
"I'm thrilled, honored and still a bit in disbelief," said Park, who once studied at Oxford as a study-abroad student. "Really the best part about the scholarship has been being able to share it with my family and all my friends here at Columbia."
The Rhodes Scholarships were established after the death of Cecil Rhodes, who hoped that his plan of bringing students from throughout the English-speaking world and beyond to study at Oxford University would aid in the promotion of international understanding and peace. The first American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.
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