UM Students Selected as a Finalist for Rhodes Scholarship

Kartik Telukuntla (Rhodes finalist)

UM student, Kartik Telukuntla, recently received the honor of being selected as a finalist for Rhodes Scholarship. The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the oldest and most prestigious international fellowships and brings outstanding students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford in England.  

Applicants are selected on the basis of “high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor,” according to Elliot F. Gerson,  American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust.   Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process. First, candidates must be endorsed by their college or university. Over 1500 students each year seek their institution’s endorsement; this year, 805 were endorsed by 326 different colleges and universities.  Selection Committees in each of 16 U.S. districts then invite the strongest applicants to be interviewed.   

On November 20, 2009, Kartik traveled to Birmingham, Alabama for the final round of interviews for District VII and competed against  11 other finalists.  Although he ultimately was not awarded the scholarship, he finds the experience invaluable and is proud to come as far as he did; “It was an honor and privilege to be considered a part of such an accomplished group of students.  I know everyone wished for a different outcome, but I think I gained a whole lot from just going through this entire process.  It has definitely forced me to think more about myself and what I truly want to accomplish in the future.”

As member of the Medical Scholars program, Kartik will enter the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine this coming year, upon completing his third year of undergraduate study.  With majors in Political Science and Biology, Kartik’s goal is “to bridge the fields of medicine and social policy to eliminate inequalities in our health care system. “  In addition to serving as Chief Justice of the Student Government Supreme Court and President of the Honor Council, in February 2009 Kartik organized the Miami Poverty Conference, which brought together over 135 students and various non-profit agencies to raise awareness about the growing problem of poverty and to inspire students to volunteer in the Miami-Dade community.