Senior Lindsay Lee, mathematics major, Spanish major, and Haslam Scholar, is well known for her successes as an undergraduate. She has a passion for public health and disability advocacy, has run a campaign for student government president, writes weekly columns for the UTK school newspaper, co-chairs the Academic Affairs Committee of the Student Government Association, heads the Dean’s Student Advisory Council for Arts and Sciences, and was a finalist for the Truman Scholarship. She is president and founder of Campus Disability Advocates and is an active member of UT’s chapter of Roosevelt Institute. Now, Lindsay Lee is a Rhodes Scholar.
The Rhodes Scholarship, given to only thirty-two students in the United States, fully funds two or three years at Oxford University for graduate studies. The application for the Rhodes is massive, and months of work are generally required for its completion. After going through the Truman application her junior year, Lindsay couldn’t imagine enduring yet another application process. However, with encouragement from Nichole Fazio-Veigel from the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships and Dr. Adam Cureton, professor of philosophy and Rhodes Scholar, she decided that she needed to at least apply. In the process of composing her application, she found that she was actually able to better refine her goals and learn to write fantastic statements for graduate school.
When Lindsay learned of her finalist status, she was ecstatic. “I screamed bloody murder and called my mom right away,” Lindsay stated. There wasn’t much time for Lindsay to celebrate, however. The next interview was barely over three weeks away. She immediately met with Nichole Fazio-Veigel, and preparation quickly began. She was subjected to three rigorous mock interviews conducted by UT faculty members, and she constantly trained herself with interview questions. “It’s emotionally taxing to go into these interviews knowing they’re looking for all your mistakes,” said Lindsay.
In late November, Lindsay found that the stressful preparation paid off. As the seventh Rhodes Scholar from the University of Tennessee, she was overwhelmed by the publicity and support from her school and community. “It was a whirlwind,” she said, describing the attention from local media the Monday after she won the scholarship. Now, she looks forward to making the most of the Rhodes Scholarship. “Winning this award is going to give me a platform from which to advocate for changes like I’ve done at UT,” said Lindsay.
Lindsay acknowledges that she is standing on the shoulders of giants. Ms. Nichole Fazio-Veigel (affectionately called a “rock star” by Lindsay) helped her through every step of both the Truman and the Rhodes applications, and Dr. Adam Cureton challenged her and gave her experienced-based advice through her preparations. In addition, Lindsay recognizes the importance of her education from the University of Tennessee as a whole. “There were only 9 state school students out of 32 that won this year. I like being proof that with the proper resources and support, state school students are just as capable as private school students, if not more so.” Lindsay plans to study to statistics for her Ph.D.