Becker a finalist for Rhodes Scholarship

Emily Becker, a senior majoring in international and area studies with a minor in English, both in Arts & Sciences, was a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship announced Nov. 21.

“Being picked as a finalist for this distinguished scholarship is a wonderful achievement,” said Joy Kiefer, P.h.D., assistant dean in the College of Arts & Sciences. “Emily has much to be proud of, and I know she will accomplish many great things after she leaves the University.”

Becker was one of several finalists who interviewed for the scholarship in Des Moines, Iowa. The scholarship provides funding for approximately 80 students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford in England for two or three years.

Becker, who has made the Dean’s List each semester since fall 2006, maintains a 4.0 grade-point average. She has received a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship and an Amanda Beth Rosenberg Scholarship in History. She is a member of Sigma Iota Rho, the International & Area Studies Honorary Society.

An active volunteer on campus, Becker is a member of the Uncle Joe’s Peer Counseling and Resource Center, where she counsels fellow students in person and over the phone. She also is a member of the Campus YMCA, where she tutors seventh-grade students in English, social studies and Spanish.

In May 2009, Becker completed an independent research project in Misiones, Argentina, called “El Ruido de Arboles Caidos: A Study of the Impact of Deforestation on the Cultural Identity of the Mbya Guarani.” The 44-page qualitative research paper, written in Spanish, examines the impact of deforestation on the formerly hunter-gatherer Mbya Guarani indigenous group.

Using interviews and observations taken from a weeklong visit to the community of Tamandua and an additional visit to the community of Alecrin, Becker analyzed the ways in which environmental changes have transformed how members of this community understand themselves and their relationship to Argentine society.

Becker is proficient in Spanish and modern standard Arabic and has a working knowledge of Levantine colloquial Arabic.

She hopes to pursue a career in diplomacy.