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Plan II Senior Awarded 2017 Rhodes Scholarship

University of Texas at Austin student Mikaila Smith has been awarded a 2017 Rhodes scholarship, one of the most distinguished graduate scholarships in the world.

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AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas at Austin student Mikaila Smith, a Plan II senior with concentrations in international affairs and Chinese, has been awarded a 2017 Rhodes scholarship, one of the most distinguished graduate scholarships in the world.

Established in 1902, the Rhodes scholarship covers all the expenses of studying at the University of Oxford in England for two to four years. Smith is one of 32 Rhodes scholars announced in the United States this year.

“Mikaila represents the essence of what we strive for in our college,” said Randy Diehl, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Not only is she an excellent student and scholar, but she is also dedicated to promoting the greater good by serving others in need.”

Smith’s research and career interests focus on international and long-term strategies for refugee populations. As a Rhodes scholar, she will pursue a Master of Science degree in refugee and forced migration studies, followed by a Master of Science degree in global governance and diplomacy.

In her time at UT Austin, Smith was awarded the Bill and Tomiko Kennedy Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Chinese Studies. She also completed an environmental internship in Australia, a U.S. State Department-sponsored language study in China and an internship in a Washington, D.C., foreign policy think tank. She has been an active volunteer, working at a shelter for victims of domestic violence and with school-age refugee children. She is also a certified yoga instructor.

“After being named a Rhodes scholar, I am more committed and determined than ever to give back to my community, to continue to work on issues I am passionate about and to support the people around me,” Smith said. “I feel honored and humbled, and I take this platform and opportunity very seriously as a way to engage with the world around me and work hard to contribute to the advancement of the issues I care about.”

Smith is the 31st UT Austin student to receive the award.