U student-athlete named Rhodes Scholar

In between her triple major, pole vaulting for the track and field team and participating in numerous undergraduate research opportunities, University of Minnesota senior Ashley Nord found time to apply to be a Rhodes Scholar and won. Nord was named one of 32 Rhodes Scholars for 2008 Saturday after interviewing with a selection committee in Des Moines, Iowa. As a Rhodes Scholar, Nord will have the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in England next fall. âÄúInitially, I was kind of just stunned,âÄù Nord said. But Sally Lieberman , the University Honors Program associate director for national and international scholarships, said she wasnâÄôt surprised Nord was selected. NordâÄôs breadth of academic and research experiences make her stand out as a scholar, but she also brings something interesting to the table as an athlete, Lieberman said. âÄúShe has the sort of courage and confidence that you would expect a pole vaulter to have,âÄù she said. Nord has also studied abroad in Venezuela and participated in undergraduate research. SheâÄôs a summa cum laude candidate for all three of her bachelorâÄôs degrees: global studies with a minor in Spanish studies, along with science degrees in physics and astrophysics. Nord said she intends to pursue a doctorate in biophysics, but also plans to pole vault for OxfordâÄôs track team and get involved with the Mountaineering Club. Terry Jones , NordâÄôs astrophysics academic adviser and her supervisor for astronomy research, said sheâÄôs the kind of student who can be given a task without needing to be âÄúbabysat.âÄù Jones said Nord has a âÄúdelightful personalityâÄù and he marvels at how she balances everything she is involved with. âÄúYou always try to ask yourself, âÄòWhat did you do in college?âÄô and it wasnâÄôt anything like this,âÄù he said. More than 1,500 students each year seek their institutionâÄôs endorsement as a candidate to be a Rhodes Scholar, according to the Rhodes Trust. Lieberman said Nord submitted her application to a University committee last spring, which then chose to endorse her. Each year, the University sees about 12 interested applicants, with anywhere from one to five receiving endorsements, Lieberman said. The selection of Nord makes her the 5th Rhodes Scholar from the University Honors Program to be chosen since 2001, Lieberman said. This year, 769 students were endorsed by colleges and universities by 207 different institutions. Approximately 80 Rhodes Scholars are selected worldwide each year. Nord, who will join the ranks of famous Rhodes Scholars like former President Bill Clinton, said she is excited for the experience of studying in England. âÄúItâÄôs great to be part of a really cool community, not only really intelligent, but diverse from all over the world,âÄù she said.