Carolyn Wills '05: Rhodes Scholar

November 21, 2004

NORTON, MA- Carolyn Wills, a Wheaton College student who is majoring in philosophy and plans to pursue a career in medicine, was named a Rhodes Scholar for 2005 yesterday. Wills is one of 32 college students nationwide to earn the honor, and the second Wheaton student in the past four years to win the prestigious award.

The senior who also is pursuing a minor in chemistry hopes to bridge the gap between science and philosophy in the field of medical ethics by doing postgraduate work in ethics as well as studying to become a medical doctor. In her personal statement to the Rhodes selection committee, the Salt Lake City, Utah, resident wrote that combining scientific and ethical knowledge is critical to our future. "Otherwise, public health policy will fail to evolve with our health technology," she said.

"This is exciting news for Carolyn and for the college," said Wheaton President Ronald A. Crutcher. "Carolyn exemplifies the power of the liberal arts. She is a scholar with broad interests in the classroom, a competitor on the athletic field and an engaged citizen of the world. The fact that she is the second Wheaton student in the past four years to win the Rhodes is very sweet. For a small liberal arts institution to have two students win the Rhodes in four years is phenomenal."

Wheaton students have won a number of prestigious academic awards in recent years. Beyond the two Rhodes Scholars, Wheaton students also have won the British Marshall, Goldwater, Beinecke, 3 Trumans, 21 Fulbrights, 5 Rotary Ambassadorial scholarships, 2 Udalls, 2 James Madison Fellowships and an American Council for International Education scholarship. The Institute for International Education recently recognized Wheaton as one of the top 20 liberal arts colleges producing Fulbright scholars.

A national merit scholar, Wills has earned a near-perfect 3.98 grade-point average at Wheaton, where she was named a Balfour and Presidential Scholar, prizes the college awards to students with the highest academic rankings. In addition to her scholarly accomplishments, Wills also is a member of the college's nationally-ranked women's soccer team.

Professor of Chemistry Elita Pastra-Landis taught Wills during her first semester at Wheaton and recalls realizing by the third week of classes that she had an incredibly gifted student in her class. "Carolyn has a deep intellect and an ability to think through complex ideas in an objective, rational way," said Professor Pastra-Landis, who described Wills as a true philosopher and a gifted scientist. 

In addition to her course work, Wills has garnered significant experience in medicine through research and clinical internships. She has spent two summers as a research assistant at the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Utah, where she extracted and analyzed DNA samples. She also worked with a mobile trauma clinic in Cape Town, South Africa, while studying there at the University of Cape Town during her sophomore year in college. Wills also has done volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity and for Democratic political candidates.

A midfielder on the women's soccer team, Wills is a two-time member of the NEWMAC All-Academic team. Head Coach Luis Reis said, "I am so proud of Carolyn. She has been a tremendous role model for our program. She is a talented player and obviously a brilliant student." 

Wills and the other Rhodes Scholars will enter the University of Oxford in England in October 2005. The scholars are chosen in a three-stage process from 904 applicants, who were endorsed by 341 colleges and universities.

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