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UW-Eau Claire senior named 2015 Rhodes Scholar

Tayo A. Sanders II, a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire senior materials science major and University Honors program participant from Neenah, is among the 32 Americans named as 2015 Rhodes Scholars.

As a Rhodes Scholar, Sanders will have a full ride to attend Oxford University in England, where he plans to pursue a doctorate in materials.

At UW-Eau Claire, Sanders has excelled in the classroom, in his research and in his athletic pursuits.

As a Goldwater Scholar, he has done extensive research alongside his faculty mentors, with his work being published in a variety of professional publications.

He has presented his research findings, particularly in the area of nanotechnology, at various meetings and other professional events, including at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Sanders also has done research in the nanomaterials lab at the University of Strasbourg in France.

A mentor and leader of a university program for minority students, Sanders does community outreach for STEM careers. He also leads tours for prospective UW-Eau Claire students and represents the university at education fairs.

In addition, Sanders is a triathlete who serves as co-captain of UW-Eau Claire's triathlon team.

Sanders will earn his bachelor's degree from UW-Eau Claire in May 2015.

Sanders is the second UW-Eau Claire student to win the prestigious Rhodes Scholar honor. In 2005, Chauncy S. Harris Jr. also earned the honor. He graduated from UW-Eau Claire with degrees in geography and history before going on to study at Oxford University.

As a Rhodes Scholar, Sanders joins an elite group of scholars, a group that includes U.S. presidents, members of congress, artists and others who are known internationally for their contributions to their chosen professions.

The scholarships, averaging about $50,000 per year, cover all costs for two or three years of study at the prestigious Oxford University.

The Rhodes Trust made the announcement Sunday of its 2015 winners. Sanders was selected from a pool of 877 applicants endorsed by 305 colleges and universities.

When announcing the 2015 Rhodes Scholars, Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, called the Rhodes Scholarships — created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes — "the oldest and best known award for international study, and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates."

Winners are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among other attributes.

The American students will join an international group of scholars selected from 14 other jurisdictions around the world.