Phoenix woman selected to be Rhodes scholar

Cathryn Creno
The Republic
Phoenix, AZ

Katie Whitcombe, a 2009 graduate of Barry Goldwater High School, is one of 32 Americans who have been selected to be 2013 Rhodes scholars.

The Rhodes scholarship, considered the most prestigious academic award for American college graduates, provides expenses-paid post-graduate study at the University of Oxford in England. At least a dozen other Arizonans have been awarded Rhodes scholarships since 1989.

Whitcombe, the child of immigrants from the Philippines, said she was not certain she would even go to college when she was growing up in Phoenix. Because of her parents’ financial struggles, she enlisted in the Navy at the start of her senior year of high school instead of applying to colleges.

“I knew the Navy would be a way to get out of poverty,” she said.

A recruiter noticed Whitcombe’s “A” average in Barry Goldwater’s challenging International Baccalaureate program and her success as a flute player and on the school track team. He urged her to apply to the U.S. Naval Academy.

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