Nine NCAA student-athletes among 2009 Rhodes Scholars

National Collegiate Athletic Association

The 32 American students selected as Rhodes Scholars will join an international group of recipients from 13 other jurisdictions around the world. About 80 Rhodes Scholars are selected worldwide annually.

One of the winners was Florida State football player Myron Rolle, one of the top safeties in the nation. Rolle earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science at Florida State and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at the school. He has been recognized for his research on the metabolic profile of stem and cancer cells and developed a diet and exercise program for children at Seminole Tribe reservation in Florida. Rolle, who has NFL aspirations, plans to pursue a master’s degree in medical anthropology at Oxford.

The total value of a Rhodes Scholarship is about $50,000 each year for two to three years of study at Oxford. Including the 2009 class, 3,164 Americans have earned the honor. Click here for more information on the Rhodes Scholarships.

Other NCAA student-athletes and club sport athletes named as Rhodes Scholars are:

Matthew L. Gethers III, MIT, fencing. Gethers is a biological engineering major with a concentration in political science at MIT. In addition to a three-year stint analyzing the effects of recombinant protein expressions on host cell growth rate, he also is an active volunteer emergency medical technician and tutors underprivileged students. At Oxford, he will study philosophy, politics and economics.

Caitlin E. Mullarkey, Swarthmore, soccer, basketball and track. Mullarkey, who captained the soccer team at Swarthmore and earned varsity letters in two other sports, is a two-time recipient of research fellowships at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She also is a sportswriter and is active in community service. The biology major plans to pursue a master of science by research in pathology.

Anthony Chase Palisch, Centre, soccer (club). Founder of Centre’s club soccer team, Palisch, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, also helped established the college’s science journal and served as president of the student government and editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. A Goldwater Scholar, he will focus on doctoral work in infection, immunity and translational medicine at Oxford.  

Julia Parker Goyer, Duke, tennis. In addition to helping the Duke tennis team to two NCAA quarterfinal appearances  before graduation in 2007, Goyer developed the Coach for College program, which provides interactive sports learning camps for middle school students in rural parts of developing countries (the Coach for College program will be featured in the January issue of Champion Magazine). At Oxford, the psychology major, who is currently pursuing a doctorate in education at Harvard, will complete a master’s of science in education.

Gregory E. Lippiatt, VMI, rugby (club). VMI’s Lippiatt is a double major in history and English with a concentration in military history. A member of the club rugby team, he is the first Rhodes Scholar to be chosen from the school in 42 years. Lippiatt, whose scholarly interests are in the medieval period, will focus on earning a master’s degree in byzantine studies at Oxford. 

Abdulrahman M. El-Sayed, Michigan, lacrosse. El-Sayed, who was a starter on Michigan’s lacrosse squad before graduating in 2007 and entering a joint MD/Ph.D program in medicine and public health at the school, is a junior member of Phi Beta Kappa. El-Sayed, who intends to pursue a master’s degree in global health science at Oxford, has published in scientific journals and served as vice president of Michigan’s Muslim Students’ Association.

Noelle R. Lopez, Santa Clara, cross country and track. Santa Clara’s Lopez is the first Rhodes Scholar from the university. The philosophy major and decorated cross country student-athlete also captained the women’s track team and actively participated in community service projects in Guatemala, Mexico and California. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Oxford.

Lindsay M. Whorton, Drake, basketball. Whorton, an English and secondary education major, is Drake’s first Rhodes Scholar in 82 years. A first-team academic all-American and first-team all-conference in basketball, she has worked on a South Dakota Indian reservation and is interested in a teaching career. She will pursue the master in philosophy in evidence-based social intervention.

Ashley L. Nord, Minnesota, track and field. Minnesota pole vaulter Nord is a triple major in physics, astrophysics and global studies who plans to pursue a doctorate in physics at Oxford. Nord, who took fourth in the Big Ten Championships, has conducted research in biophysics at UCLA and in astronomy at Hawaii and Minnesota.

Scott W. Hugo, UCLA, rugby (club). A political science and history major at UCLA, Hugo is a four-year starter on the rugby squad. A junior member of Phi Beta Kappa who has conducted research on U.S.-China relations and other aspects of East Asian affairs, he is a leader of youth groups against violence in Los Angeles and plans to study international relations at Oxford.

Christopher D. Joseph, UCLA, football. Joseph, a 2008 UCLA graduate with a major in geography, was a four-year member and three-year starter and captain for the Bruins football squad before a season-ending injury in 2007. Joseph has conducted ecological and geographic research involving exotic species in Brazil, glaciers in arctic Canada, migration in Morocco and inter-tribal trading in Micronesia. He will do the master of philosophy in geography.