Local News

Tuesday, Nov 20 2012 10:00 PM

Bakersfield native named Rhodes scholar

BY COURTENAY EDELHART Californian staff writer cedelhart@bakersfield.com

A Stockdale High School graduate has been named one of 32 Americans who will study at Oxford University in the United Kingdom next year as Rhodes scholars.

Evan R. Szablowski was the only Californian on the list announced Saturday.

He is majoring in mathematics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and plans to use his scholarship to pursue a master's research degree in applied statistics, which he would use to study data analytics and machine learning in computer science, according to the West Point website.

Selection as a Rhodes scholar is a rare and prestigious honor.

Candidates must be endorsed by their college or university. Selection committees in each of 16 U.S. districts then invite the strongest applicants to an interview.

The value of the scholarship varies depending on the type of degree sought and the field of study, but typically it's worth about $50,000 a year. The Rhodes Trust pays tuition, living expenses and transportation to and from England.

Rhodes scholars are selected "not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but for 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.

Attempts to reach Szablowski for comment were unsuccessful, but he told West Point's Public Affairs Department that becoming a Rhodes scholar was a lifelong dream.

"This is the biggest goal I've ever set for myself, and I've achieved it," he said. "It's absolutely humbling to be selected. It really is a dream come true."

Szablowski was one of two West Point cadets selected.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who nominated Szablowski for admission to the academy when he first applied to West Point, posted a note about the announcement on his Facebook page.

"Just heard that one of my West Point nominees and recipient of my 2009 Merit Award has been named a Rhodes Scholar! A huge congratulations to Bakersfield native, Cadet First Class Evan Szablowski!!" he wrote.

The American Rhodes scholars will join scholars from 14 other countries around the world who will commence their studies in October 2013.

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