Sunday profile: Fort Collins native Meredith Wheeler named Rhodes Scholar

Stanford University's Meredith Wheeler plans to study Middle Eastern politics while on scholarship at England's University of Oxford.
Madeline Novey

Zoe Wallace remembers fondly planning Halloween costumes with her childhood friend Meredith Wheeler, her favorite being the year they went as salt and pepper shakers.

She remembers gossiping over pumpkin spice lattes, talks in the car as Wallace drove the two to Poudre High School and singing Christmas carols “at the top of our lungs.” And she can still recall the first day they met during recess in first-grade — Wheeler had skipped kindergarten — and Wallace tried to get Wheeler to exchange her book for time on the playground.

“Seeing as she can still often be found reading a book, it seems some things never change,” Wallace wrote in an email from Oxford University in England, where she’s researching HIV and working on her Ph.D. in clinical medicine.

Indeed, Wallace knows a lot about Wheeler. And while it was a slight surprise, knowing how hard Wheeler’s worked for the opportunities in her life Wallace “wasn’t too shocked” when Wheeler told her the news:

Last month, Wheeler was named one of 32 men and women chosen as Rhodes Scholars, a prestigious honor that bestows upon the Fort Collins native and 2009 Poudre High School graduate a full-ride scholarship at Oxford. While there, Wheeler plans to pursue a Master of Philosophy degree in modern Middle Eastern studies.

As far back as she can remember, Wheeler relished learning from an amazing cadre of educators in Poudre School District.

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