From refugee camp to Rochester: John Marshall grad awarded Rhodes Scholarship
Ahmed M. Ahmed, a first-generation Somali immigrant and 2013 graduate of Rochester's John Marshall High School, is a 2017 Rhodes Scholar.
The Rhodes Trust announced the 32 American scholars on Sunday. The award is one of the world's most prestigious academic scholarships.
Ahmed is now a senior at Cornell University majoring in biology. According to his Rhodes Trust bio, Ahmed serves as a student advisor in biology and a teaching assistant in biochemistry. Outside the classroom, he works as a tutor and mentors disadvantaged African-American students.
His research in biochemistry has focused on the development of new synthetic strategies for producing polymers, his bio says. He has also performed laboratory work on the oncogenesis of the Epstein-Barr virus and a study of brain plasticity at the University of Pennsylvania.
Ahmed and his family moved to Minnesota after spending time in a refugee camp in Kenya. He will pursue a master’s degree in research in Organic and Medical Chemistry at Oxford.
Rhodes Scholarships cover all expenses for two to four years of study at the prestigious university in England starting fall 2017. The scholarships are worth about $68,000 per year. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered the University of Oxford in 1904.
Applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in the Will of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist and African colonialist:
"These criteria are first, academic excellence. This is a critical but only threshold condition. A Rhodes Scholar should also have great personal energy, ambition for impact, and an ability to work with others and to achieve one’s goals. In addition, a Rhodes Scholar should be committed to make a strong difference for good in the world, be concerned for the welfare of others, and be conscious of inequities. And finally, a Rhodes Scholar should show great promise of leadership."
Cover graphic: Med City Beat