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(WBIR-Knoxville) Over the weekend, a University of Tennessee senior was selected as a Rhodes scholar.

Lindsay Evans Lee, of Oak Ridge, learned early Sunday that she will attend Oxford University next October along with 31 other Americans. The scholarship, valued at about $50,000 per year, provides all expenses for two or three years of study at the prestigious university in England.

The winners were selected from 857 applicants endorsed by 327 different colleges and universities. They were chosen based on high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential, and physical vigor, among other attributes. The British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes created the Rhodes Scholarships in 1902.

"It still hasn't sunk in yet," Lee said.

Lindsay has majors in mathematics and Spanish. She has researched at the National Institute of Mathematical and Biological Synthesis at Vanderbilt Medical Center and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

During her time at UT, Lindsay also served as the president of the Dean's Student Advisory Council, wrote an opinion column at UT's student newspaper "The Beacon," volunteered for the homeless and in a children's hospital. She has studied in Barcelona and Tokyo.

She said she is interested in studying statistics at Oxford. She credits faculty members at the University of Tennessee for guiding her toward the scholarship.

"Knowing that someone knew I was capable of doing that, really pushed me in that direction," Lee said.

Her father, Joseph, said Lindsay deserves every bit of her new title.

"Number 1, she's brilliant," Joseph Lee said. "She got that from her mother and she's a go-getter. She got that from her daddy. And, she's just a good person [who] loves people. She got that from her sister."

When she was three, Lindsay was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. This challenge has inspired her to become a passionate and highly successful advocate for disability issues locally, nationally and globally. She even founded the group, "Campus Disability Advocates" at UT.

Lindsay joins a coveted list shared by many famous people, including former president Bill Clinton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

UT Professor Michael Handelsman helped Lindsay achieve the scholarship. He said it was a great accomplishment.

"I congratulate Lindsay, and am thrilled that her success will draw attention to the fact that UT is serious about working with its students who aspire to excellence," he said.

Lee is the seventh UT student to win a Rhodes Scholarship.

UT's other Rhodes Scholars are:

  • Bernadotte Schmitt, 1905
  • Matthew G. Smith, 1911
  • Arthur Preston Whitaker, 1917
  • William E. Derryberry, 1928
  • Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, 1979
  • Jennifer Santoro Stanley, 1995
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