A Minnesota student is heading to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in 2017

A Minnesota student will spend the next few years studying at the famous Oxford University after being named a Rhodes Scholar for the 2017 academic year.
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A Minnesota student will spend the next few years studying at the famous Oxford University after being named a Rhodes Scholar for the 2017 academic year.

Ahmed M. Ahmed, of Rochester, is one of just 32 college students in the U.S. and 95 across the world to win the prestigious scholarships, which rewards academic excellence, ambition and philanthropy, it was announced on Sunday.

Ahmed, a senior currently majoring in biology at Cornell University, will now spend two to three years at Oxford University, England, which is one of the oldest universities in the world, having been founded around 1100 A.D.

A first generation Somali immigrant, Ahmed's parents immigrated to the U.S. from a refugee camp in Kenya, according to his Rhodes Scholar bio.

As well as attending Cornell, he has conducted research the Epstein-Barr virus and brain plasticity at the University of Pennsylvania, and is also a tutor to fellow students studying organic and general chemistry.

His philanthropic side sees him mentor disadvantaged African American students at Cornell and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

According to his LinkedIn page, while at high school in Rochester he would deliver meals to underprivileged families for the holidays and helped 3rd and 4th grade students meet their reading requirements.

At Oxford, he will study for a master's degree in research in organic and medical chemistry.

Around 2,500 American students sought their college's endorsement for a Rhodes Scholarship application, of them, 882 received endorsements and were interviewed by selection committees, with the field whittled down to just 32 successful applicants.

More about Rhodes Scholars

Every year, students from around the world apply to be named Rhodes Scholars, winning scholarships from the Rhodes Trust which was created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer, according to the trust.

Those selected need to demonstrate academic aptitude, but this is only a "threshold condition," they also need to have "great personal energy, an ability to work with others and to achieve one's goals."

Scholars should be "committed to make a strong difference for good in the world," be concerned for the welfare of others, "be conscious of inequities," and show great potential of leadership.

The value of a scholarship averages around $68,000 a year but can be up to $250,000 for those who stay for four years in certain departments.

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