Monday, November 19, 2012

Skyline grad Joe Thiel named 2013 Rhodes Scholar

Idaho Falls native Joe Thiel was named a 2013 Rhodes Scholar this weekend.
Joseph W. Thiel, an Idaho Falls native and 2008 graduate of Skyline High School, was named a Rhodes scholar this weekend, one of 32 young Americans in the Class of 2013.

Thiel is a senior at Montana State University, where he majors in chemical engineering; he is also pursuing a B.A. in liberal studies, with a focus on politics, philosophy and economics.  He is the only student representative on the Board of Regents of the Montana University System.

Thiel was the vice president of Engineers Without Borders at Montana State and served as a student senator.  He has done summer work related to the storage of spent nuclear fuel and in biofilms engineering.  He is keenly interested in international development, and worked in western Kenya on an engineering project to provide water to rural primary schools.

He intends to do the M.Sc. in economics for development at Oxford.

The Rhodes Scholarship program was created in 1902 by the Will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904; those elected this weekend will enter Oxford in October 2013.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process.  First, candidates must be endorsed by their college or university.  This year, approximately 1,700 students sought their institution’s endorsement; 838 were endorsed by 302 different colleges and universities.   

Applicants in the United States may apply either through the state where they are legally resident or where they have attended college for at least two years. The district committees met separately, on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 16 and 17, in cities across the country.

The Rhodes Scholars from the United States will join an international group of scholars chosen from 14 other jurisdictions around the world.

The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations, and transportation to and from England. It is estimated the total value of the scholarship averages approximately $50,000 per year.

Just over 1,900 American Rhodes Scholars, including former President Bill Clinton, are living in all parts of the U.S. and abroad.