The University of Chicago News Office
December 8, 1997 Press Contact: Julia Morse
(773) 702-8359

University of Chicago College senior wins Rhodes Scholarship

Kirsten Parker is in the midst of finals, but her phone has been ringing off the hook.

“It’s been kind of hard to study with everyone calling back-to-back,” the University of Chicago College senior said, “but I’m really excited. And shell-shocked. It doesn’t seem real yet.”

On Saturday, Dec. 6, Parker learned that she had won a Rhodes Scholarship for study at Oxford University, and since then she has been inundated with requests for TV, radio and newspaper interviews. Already, she has been featured in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times and appeared on WMAQ-TV and WGN-TV, with more to come.

Parker’s teachers aren’t surprised. They consider her an outstanding example of a Rhodes Scholar. She is currently taking microeconomics with Allen Sanderson, Senior Lecturer in Economics, and he says that she received such a high score on his midterm that she “messed up the rest of the grade distribution.”

He added, “She’s obviously a terrific student, the kind that professors like to teach and parents like to brag about. But she’s also thoughtful, objective and a really wonderful, great person.”

Parker is planning to do master’s research at Oxford on how politics affect the economic development of Latin America. She is currently majoring in anthropology and political science and has volunteered extensively for Chicago Housing Authority projects, helping to build a playground for Randolph Towers and reading to underserved children. Parker, 21, is one of 32 winners from around the country.

“We are all very excited about this news,” said Katie Nash, University of Chicago Dean of Students in the College. “Kirsten could not be more deserving, and we’re very proud and happy that she has joined the ranks of Rhodes Scholars.”

The Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships offered to college students, was established in 1902 by Cecil Rhodes, a British colonial financier. It provides tuition and a stipend to 32 Americans for two years of study in any field at Oxford University. Approximately 1,200 students from around the United States apply each year.

But Parker is modest about the honor. “I’m just happy that I know what I’m doing next year,” she said.
Last modified at 03:50 PM CST on Wednesday, June 14, 2000.

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