Bakersfield has been home to professional football players, music icons and even a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Now, we can add a Rhodes Scholar to the list.
Evan R. Szablowski, a graduate of Stockdale High School and senior at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point), will study at Oxford University starting in October after being one of just 32 Americans -- and the only Californian -- chosen as a Rhodes Scholar this year.
The prestigious scholarship from the Rhodes Trust -- said to be worth about $50,000 per year -- is one of the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards. Students are chosen "for their outstanding scholarly achievements ... their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead," according to The Rhodes Trust.
Though the award is something Szablowski has thought about since high school, he was in disbelief when he was selected as a Rhodes Scholar, joining the likes of former President Bill Clinton and other students in his Rhodes class already accomplishing great things in life, he said.
"It's a dream come true," Szablowski told Bakersfield Life. "I'm just tremendously excited about this opportunity."
The Rhodes candidates must first be endorsed by their college or university, and selection committees in 16 U.S. districts invite the strongest applicants to an interview.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who nominated Szablowski for admission to West Point, said there was no doubt that Evan always had the drive and commitment to achieve such amazing accomplishments.
"It's a great source of pride for our community to see one of our own chosen for this prestigious scholarship," McCarthy told Bakersfield Life in a statement.
Szablowski, 21, studies mathematics at West Point. He has also studied in Morocco, worked on projects encouraging entrepreneurship in Ethiopia, and on emerging markets in the Czech Republic.
At Oxford, Szablowski plans to study data analytics and machine learning in computer science. In the future, he said, he'd like to work in military intelligence with the U.S. Army.
-- Bakersfield Life