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CALS fields two 2020 Rhodes finalists

One undergraduate student and one recent graduate from the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences reached the final stage of competition this year for Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest and most celebrated college awards for international study.

The 32 Americans chosen as Rhodes Scholars were recently announced. An additional 204 students were finalists for the coveted awards, including CALS undergraduate Kevin Crosby and recent CALS graduate Lauren Jorgensen. Claire Evensen, a UW–Madison undergraduate in the College of Letters and Science, was also named a finalist.

“To be a finalist is truly remarkable, and we congratulate Claire, Lauren and Kevin on this impressive accomplishment and on all they’ve achieved,” says UW–Madison Provost John Karl Scholz. “These three students have been leaders on our campus, in the community, and beyond. I want to thank them for reflecting so well on this institution and on the many opportunities we offer to learn in and outside the classroom — what we call the Wisconsin Experience.”

Hundreds of elite applicants from dozens of colleges and universities vie for the Rhodes Scholarships each year. Candidates are judged on a proven record of intellectual and academic achievement, integrity of character, interest in and respect for others, leadership ability, and the energy to fully utilize their talents.

Kevin Crosby, a senior from Brandywine, Maryland, is majoring in nutritional sciences, with a certificate in environmental studies. He has interned three summers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (part of the National Institutes of Health) and two years at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison. He received a competitive National Science Foundation scholarship to participate in the Community Environmental Scholars Program through the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW–Madison.

Crosby serves as a peer mentor for both the Physics Learning Center on campus and the Department of Biochemistry, and he’s an undergraduate teaching assistant in the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Outside the classroom, Crosby has volunteered as a cultural coalition chair for a consortium of three residence halls, working with a team to create a more culturally inclusive campus. Through the Badgers Volunteers Program, he has assisted with the operation of The River food pantry in Madison and an afterschool program at a local elementary school.

Crosby attends UW–Madison on a full-tuition scholarship through the Posse Foundation, which identifies students with extraordinary leadership potential and partners with top universities to diversify their applicant pools. He will graduate in the spring.

Lauren Jorgensen, of Stillwater, Minnesota, graduated from UW–Madison in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and community and environmental sociology, with certificates in environmental studies, food systems, and global health. She currently is pursuing a master’s degree in public affairs through an accelerated program at the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at UW–Madison. She expects to complete the master’s degree in the spring.

Early in her undergraduate career, Jorgensen developed an interest in food access and food policy. Since 2017, she has interned with the UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health’s Population Health Institute, where she has helped develop a school wellness policy initiative and evaluate a statewide public health nutrition program. As a food policy intern with the city of Madison, Jorgensen produced a map of food insecurity within the city limits. For her senior thesis, she researched rural and urban food insecurity throughout Wisconsin. She received a Hilldale Undergraduate Research Fellowship to support her work. On campus, she helped establish the Campus Food Shed, which recovers edible produce that would otherwise be thrown away.

Read the full UW–Madison news release.