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UK Rhodes Scholar: 'I'm Still Trying To Process It'

Hadeel Abdallah is UK's first Rhodes Scholar since 1955.
Hadeel Abdallah is UK's first Rhodes Scholar since 1955.

The University of Kentucky’s first Rhodes Scholar in more than 60 years is speaking out about the honor and what it will mean for her passions and career goals. 

Hadeel Abdallah is UK's first Rhodes Scholar since 1955.
Credit Mark Cornelison
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Hadeel Abdallah is UK's first Rhodes Scholar since 1955.

Hadeel Abdallah, a Dunbar graduate who is attending UK, found her name on the list of just 32 winners of the coveted scholarship and says it’s still sinking in.

"I'm still trying to process it because the same weekend you interview is the same weekend they tell you whether or not you're named," she told UKNow

The student activist, who has also served as the president of the Muslim Student Association and the director of inclusion and outreach for the UK Student Government Association, says the scholarship – which foots the bill for graduate work at England’s Oxford University – will help her pursue a variety of causes close to her heart.

"I'm passionate about solving patterns of forced displacement... helping refugees and women specifically obtain an education, and... solving inequalities when it comes to access to education," she said. "I believe that the Rhodes Scholarship will definitely help me achieve those goals."

While the award puts Abdallah in rare company, 21 of this year’s 32 winners are women and almost half are immigrants or first-generation Americans.

Abdallah will begin her studies at Oxford in October 2019.

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