Jenny Park named Rhodes Scholarship finalist

Jenny Park

Nov. 28, 2023

The past year has been one of growth and self-discovery for University of Missouri senior Jenny Park. It’s also been a year of celebration.

Park, a double major in biological sciences and psychology who is pursuing the Honors Certificate, began the year by being named a Goldwater Scholar, one of the most prestigious national scholarships in natural sciences, engineering and mathematics in the United States. Park is ending the year with another illustrious honor – she was named a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.

“I was very surprised and also thrilled to hear that I had been named a finalist,” Park said. “When I saw the email that I was a finalist, all I could think about was how incredibly grateful I am for the support I have received. My faculty mentors, the dedicated staff in the Office of Global and National Fellowships, my family and my friends were all so helpful throughout the process.”

The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award to study at the University of Oxford. Nearly 1,000 students apply for the Rhodes Scholarship and around 200 finalists from across the country are named, with a total of 32 scholarships awarded. Park actually spent a semester in England last year, where she participated in Oxford’s Direct Enrollment program and studied neuroscience overseas.

“Working with Jenny, what I’m most proud of is that she is able to fully engage with the process,” said Nina Wilson-Keenan, an advisor in the Office of Global and National Fellowships who worked with Park throughout the application process. “She’s gone through that self-reflection and has truly explored how all her interests do fit together and how those interests can be part of her future. There’s nothing she has to leave behind.”

While Park said the application was daunting at times, her past experience of applying for the Goldwater Scholarship, as well as encouragement and guidance from the Office of Global and National Fellowships, made the process much more manageable.

“My one-on-one meetings with my Fellowships advisors often turned into therapeutic sessions where I would talk through the items in the application that weren’t working or parts I found confusing,” Park said. “It is so nice to have a group that walks through the process with you and offers so much support.”

During her time at MU, Park created the Mizzou Empowers Refugees and Immigrants (MERI) organization, which is focused on refugee and immigrant advocacy and offers tutoring to students. She also leads People Advocating for Growth and Empowerment (P.A.G.E.), a book club that features high school students from several states, as well as South Korea.

“I always knew I had those two pillars of passions, but I didn’t quite know how to integrate them together,” Park said. “My time at MU really solidified my interest in working at the intersection of these fields. There is definitely a need for accessibility in healthcare for immigrants and refugees.”

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