Two students selected as finalists for the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships




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Alex Alvarez and Julianna Kantner

Two U of A students were recently named finalists for two of the world’s top scholarships.

Eileen “Alex” Alvarez, a major in political science and international and global studies at the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, was named a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. Julianna Kantner, a major in political science and international and global studies, was selected as a Marshall finalist.

Finalists for both awards are selected each year from hundreds of applicants across the country. The Marshall Scholarship offers one or two years of postgraduate study at any university in the UK. The Rhodes Scholarship offers up to three years of study at the University of Oxford. Interviews for both awards take place this week.

“Alex Alvarez and Julianna Kantner are excellent representatives of the University of Arkansas,” said U of A acting chancellor Charles Robinson. “Both are brilliant students, dynamic leaders on campus. and in the community, and determined change makers. They aim to make a difference in the lives of marginalized communities. They compete at the highest possible level as Rhodes and Marshall finalists. All of us at the University of Arkansas are very proud of their accomplishments and wish them well now and in the future as they work to make a difference in our state and beyond.

Eileen “Alex” Alvarez – Rhodes Finalist

Alvarez is a Silas Hunt Scholar from Rogers, and she served as the Senior Resident Assistant on campus where she worked closely with the Resident Education Coordinator, Deputy Directors and Graduate Assistants to lead and support Resident Assistants. housing.
Alvarez has also served as an intern for Search for Common Ground, his efforts focusing on projects related to the Youth, Peace and Security Act, including policy briefs, research and development efforts. She was also an intern for Generations for Peace.

Last fall, she organized volunteers in a voter registration effort called Fight Forward-Arkansas. On campus, she is a student member of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences DEI Council. She sits on the University Housing Diversity Task Force and is a member of the Honors College Advisory Council. As a member of ASG, she served on the leadership team overseeing the Freshman Leadership Forum.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to interview for a Rhodes Fellowship,” Alvarez said. “Throughout my time at university, I received great support from my professors and advisors. I wouldn’t be here today without all of their support and the endless love and support of my family and friends! It is an honor to represent my school and my community and to be considered for such an amazing scholarship. It’s exciting to know that this could be the next step in my education, allowing me to help create desperately needed, human rights-based change for minority communities around the world.

If awarded the Rhodes Scholarship, she plans to pursue a Masters of Science. in global governance and diplomacy. Her long-term goals are to work for a nonprofit advocacy program like Search for Common Ground and eventually become a faculty member in political science or international affairs at a research university.

Julianna Kantner – Marshall Finalist

A native of Shawnee, Kansas, Kantner is a Fellow of Toller Honors College. She was president, vice-president and secretary of Students with Refugees; Vice President of Rotaract; and captain of the varsity Mock Trial team.

In the community, Kantner is active in refugee resettlement and youth mentorship programs. At Canopy NWA, she completed an internship in the areas of volunteer coordination and community development. She also co-sponsors a refugee family, helping them acclimate to the NWA. Kantner has also been involved with youth-focused nonprofits in the area, including serving as a youth mentor at Potter’s House and as a Learning Loss Prevention Coordinator at the Boys and Girls Club. Kantner was named a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Fellowship last spring, in part because of her commitment to service.

“The Marshall Scholarship interviews were a wonderful opportunity to further my research and understand how I can support the local refugee community in North West Arkansas and connect it to an education in the UK,” Kantner said. “I am grateful for all the support and guidance I have received from my professors and my department, as well as the U of A National Competitive Scholarships Office. I hope to use this opportunity to make a difference in the resettlement of refugees and the provision of essential services.”

If selected as a Marshall Scholar, Kantner plans to pursue two degrees – an M.Sc. in Global Migration and Social Justice in Glasgow and an M.Sc. at the London School of Economics in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. She ultimately plans to pursue law studies and work in strategic litigation to support the human rights of migrant communities, while also helping to strengthen international institutions that support refugees.

Students or alumni interested in applying for prestigious scholarships should contact the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards at [email protected]

About Marshall Scholarship: Beginning with the first 12 Marshall Scholars in 1954, the Marshall Scholarships were established to fund young Americans of high ability to study for a postgraduate degree in the UK. Marshall Scholars strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American people, their governments and their institutions. Marshall Scholars are talented and independent with varied interests. The award allows recipients one to three years of postgraduate study at any university in the UK. The U of A’s first Marshall Scholar was John Edie, selected in 1960. The scholarships recognize the work of US Secretary of State George C. Marshall and express the UK’s gratitude for the economic assistance received through of the Marshall Plan after World War II. Marshall Fellowship recipients are selected for their potential for excellence as scholars, leaders, and contributors to greater understanding between the United States and the United Kingdom. The University of Arkansas has had eight Marshall Scholars, including Victoria Maloch (2017), Mike Norton (2014), Ben Hood (2002), Megan Ceronsky (2001), Warwick Sabin (1998), Charles King (1990), Lisa Pruitt (1989) and John Edie (1960).

About Rhodes Scholarship: The Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest international scholarship, was started after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902. The scholarship is intended to bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford. The first American Scholars were elected in 1904, and Neil Carothers of the University of Arkansas was a Rhodes Scholar that first year. Rhodes Scholars are elected for two years of study at the University of Oxford with the possibility of renewal for a third year. Eleven students from the University of Arkansas have been selected as Rhodes Scholars. The most recent was Coleman Warren (2022) who is currently studying at Oxford.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and employment development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the few American colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. US News and World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. Learn how the U of A is working to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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