Rhodes Scholarship winner

Victoria University of Wellington student Isabella Lenihan-Ikin has won a Rhodes Scholarship to undertake postgraduate study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

She is one of three Rhodes Scholars named today by the Governor-General Her Excellency The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy.

Described by one of her referees as “one of the most exceptional students I have had the privilege to work with”, Isabella has completed a BSc (Hons), majoring in Cell and Molecular Bioscience in her undergraduate degree and Geography in her Honours degree.

“At Oxford, I hope to continue my research exploring the nexus between human health and climate change through completing two Masters of Science—one in International Health and Tropical Medicine, followed by another in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies,” says Isabella.

Isabella was the Academic Vice President for the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) and is a student representative on the University Council. She is also Vice President of the VUW Feminist Law Society and a national student representative on University New Zealand’s Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP).

She has played soccer since high school, and continues to play in the women’s Premier League.

“I struggle to answer the question of what I want to be,” says Isabella. “However, I know who I want to be. Someone who remains vocal in times of injustice and—as we face social, political, racial, environmental and economic issues—someone who continues to seize the light and opportunities that emerge: the hope in times of adversity.”

The Scholarship covers Isabella’s fees, accommodation and living costs for up to three years at Oxford, which is one of the oldest and top-ranked universities in the world.

Today the Rhodes Scholarships for New Zealand is a partnership between the Rhodes Trust and the Robertson Foundation, with the application and selection process managed by Universities New Zealand along with about 35 other scholarships worth over $2 million.

The other recipients were KDee Aimiti Ma’ia’I from the University of Auckland and University of Otago alumnus Oliver Pooke.