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UC Merced's First Rhodes Scholar

March 10, 2021
Re: UC Merced's First Rhodes Scholar
To: All faculty and staff
March 10, 2021
Dear Campus Community,
It gives me great pleasure to announce to our community the naming of UC Merced’s first Rhodes Scholar — Selina Brinkmann, a mechanical engineering master's student who will go on to study at Oxford University.
The Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest international fellowship award, selects students based on their academic achievement, their character, their commitment to the common good and their potential for leadership in their chosen fields. Only 102 scholarships are awarded each year to students all over the world, and we are extraordinarily proud to have Selina as UC Merced’s first recipient.
She came here to join Professor James Palko’s lab to study water management, after undergraduate years at the University of Siegen in Germany working on noise pollution from wind turbines. She came to Merced because of our focus on renewable energy and sustainability — "no other campus has such a big focus on it.” At Oxford, she will undertake doctoral work in wind and marine energy systems.
Selina’s joy is something in which we all share, and we know she will ascend greater heights in the future; we are proud to know that our reputation for research in sustainability attracted such an outstanding scholar.
I am also proud to note that five faculty members have been recognized with National Science Foundation CAREER Awards this year: Professors Arvind Gopinath, Daniel Beller, Marie-Odile Fortier, Dustin Kleckner and Bin Liu. This award recognizes untenured teacher-scholars based on research proposal strength, potential to be great role models, and leadership.
This marks 28 such awards in our university’s 16-year history, and again demonstrates that the eyes of scientific and academic leaders turn toward UC Merced to find young scholars who have done great things and show the promise for even greater achievements.
We are a young campus, but we are a campus of distinctive excellence, and the world is taking notice.
Juan Sánchez Muñoz, Ph.D.
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