Who are the Rhodes 2021 Fellows? Meet one from the University of Utah


Finance graduate Sabah Sial is one of 32 Rhodes Scholars nationally named earlier this month and the University of Utah’s first Rhodes Scholar in 20 years.

“I always come back to that moment because I’m still in a state of disbelief that this is happening,” Sial said, looking back on the moment she learned she had been appointed Rhodes Scholar after a terrible 3 1/2 – one hour waiting period on a Zoom call while the selection committee members deliberated.

Sial, from Sandy, was selected from 2,300 US applicants this year for the prestigious scholarship, which covers tuition and living costs for two years of international graduate study at the University of Oxford. Sial plans to study the intersection of finance, criminology and criminal justice next year.

“You would have thought my Zoom screen just froze – I was smiling and not moving at all,” Sial said.

Sial said the idea to apply for the scholarship arose out of conversations she had with Honors College Dean Sylvia Torti, as well as Professor L. Jackson Newell, while she was assistant to their teacher in his second year.

“They put me in touch with some of our advisers in the United States and a former fellow from Rhodes, so it was very helpful in making the idea of ​​the stock exchange much more concrete rather than this fleeting idea that (the stock exchange ) was completely inaccessible to me, “Sial said.” It made things a lot more realistic. “

Born in Pakistan and raised in Utah, Sial devoted her undergraduate studies to economic policy and white-collar crime – and their particular impact on disadvantaged and under-represented populations. Over the past two summers, Sial has interned at Goldman Sachs’ Salt Lake City office in the Criminal Compliance Division, an experience that has been “pivotal” to his desire to promote accountability and access to law. finance.

“I come from a financial background, but most of the people in the compliance function at these banks have legal backgrounds. I got to see the intricacies of how markets can influence money laundering and sometimes make it easier for individuals to launder money. money or commit or disguise illicit activity through the flow of funds, ”Sial said.

Sabah Sial, a University of Utah graduate with a major in finance and one of 32 Rhodes Scholars named this month, goes to class at the Salt Lake City campus on Thursday, December 2, 2021. Sial, from Sandy, was selected from 2,300 United States. applicants this year for the scholarship.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Sial also said she wanted to make finance more accessible to individuals, regardless of their socio-economic or racial background.

“I think finance itself seems a bit off-limits both in terms of who can access finance and who has access to the table in terms of legislation when it comes to financial and economic policy,” Sial added. “Addressing this specific process in terms of access to loans, by facilitating the access of people from different backgrounds and different socio-economic backgrounds to financing needs, this will in fact have long-term impacts on their growth potential in terms of economic growth and production. “

Qualifications required for a Rhodes scholarship include academic excellence, social impact, ability to work with others, commitment to make a difference for good in the world, awareness of inequalities and concern for security others. Public service is an essential part of the application process.

While at the University of Utah, Sial advocated for diversification of Honors College’s curriculum, worked to give students a voice in the main office of security through the SafeU Ambassador program and s ‘volunteered during the vice-presidential debate held at U. in 2020. Sial is a Presidential Intern, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of ASUU, and Eccles Fellow at Honors College.

“Her work ensures that students have the opportunity to be heard and to develop campus safety policy,” said Ginger Smoak, director of the Bureau of Nationally Competitive Scholarships. “She is a visionary, using her intellectual capacities and extraordinary talents, able to see the big picture and work to include many diverse voices.

“The Rhodes Scholarship will give her the opportunity to continue to develop her abilities over the next two years. I have full confidence that she will make a huge contribution to the future of the world.”

While being named the Rhodes Scholar is undoubtedly an impressive individual achievement, Sial doesn’t want to underestimate the importance of a supportive community at the university that has helped her achieve this feat.

“I would just like to highlight the role everyone has played in getting me to where I am in regards to my professors who have encouraged me to apply and in particular the University of Utah who have supported me so much. by putting myself in touch with people and just making it seem like a lot more realistic for me – I certainly wouldn’t even have applied without that kind of support, ”Sial said.

Sial will pursue two master’s degrees at Oxford, one in Criminology and Criminal Justice, the other in Financial Economics.

“(I am) certainly very excited for the people I am going to meet and also for the wider Oxford community in terms of faculty and research opportunities and just being in the UK is an opportunity. super cool, ”Sial added. . “I’m grateful that I can not only witness (the research), but also be a part of this research and this new knowledge that comes out of it.”

Since 1904, the U. has had 23 Rhodes Scholarship winners in total, the last of which was in 2002. Sial is one of 22 women named Rhodes Scholars at US universities this year. Women have only been allowed to apply since 1976. In its nearly 120-year history, 3,578 Americans have won Rhodes scholarships, of which 627 are women. More than 100 Rhodes Scholars will be selected around the world in 2021.


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