The Rhodes Trust announced Nov. 22 that Rice University senior Tom Carroll is one of 32 Americans chosen for a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest of the international study awards available to American students, which provides for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England.
“Tom’s receipt of the Rhodes Scholarship speaks to his intellect and drive as well as to the value of a Rice education,” said Caroline Quenemoen, executive director of Rice’s Center for Civic Leadership and one of nine people who recommended Carroll for the award. “As a result of coursework and research in the sciences and humanities and participation in co-curricular opportunities, Tom possesses the intellectual rigor and leadership skills necessary to make a distinctive impact upon the field of cancer research.”
Carroll, who is from Westlake, Ohio, is Rice’s 12th Rhodes Scholar. A double major in biochemistry and classical studies, Carroll said he plans to continue his studies into the way cancer research is done by taking a broad approach that uses his training in biochemistry and cell biology, along with skills he learned from his studies in the humanities. While at Oxford, Carroll will work on p53, which is a tumor suppressor that is implicated in about half of all cancer cases.
“To be selected from such a prestigious field, it is just such an incredible honor,” Carroll said. “I don’t see this as an end goal; I see this as a new standard that is set for myself. I’m going to be working really hard over the next few years at Oxford to meet those standards.”
The Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer, and are provided in partnership with the Second Century Founder, John McCall MacBain and other generous benefactors.
Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process. First, applicants must be endorsed by their college or university. This year approximately 2,000 students sought their institution’s endorsement; 869 were endorsed by 316 different colleges and universities. Committees of Selection in each of 16 U.S. districts then invite the strongest applicants to appear before the Rhodes Trust for interviews.
The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904; Carroll and the other scholars elected this year will enter Oxford in October 2016.