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Laurie Mellas-Ramirez
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December 10, 2001

UNM STUDENT NAMED RHODES SCHOLAR

John ProbascoFor the second time in recent years, a University of New Mexico student has been selected a Rhodes Scholar shortly after receiving the prestigious Truman Scholarship.

Biochemistry major John Probasco, from Alamogordo, was announced Sunday as one of 32 U.S. students who will receive the 2002 scholarship to study at Oxford University in England.

UNM student Manuel Montoya also was named both a Truman and Rhodes Scholar in 1999.

Probasco, 22, is a 1998 graduate and class valedictorian from Alamogordo High School. He received a Regents' Scholarship to attend UNM and was the recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship in 2000. In May of this year he received the Truman Scholarship in a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo.

Probasco will graduate from UNM in the spring and, in October, leaves for the University of Oxford in England to study medical ethics in a program that combines psychology, philosophy, and physiology.

"It's exciting, humbling, too," Probasco said. "I will take advantage of the opportunity and also have a good time there."

At UNM, Probasco became interested in the translation of basic science to clinical application and public theory development. As a summer intern for three years running, he conducted clinical research on neurological and stroke disorders at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C.

Probasco also worked with UNM researchers who authored a study on a rare form of muscular dystrophy found in northern New Mexico. Their findings were published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Currently an ASUNM senator serving as chief justice of the student court, he has served on UNM Strategic Planning Task Force and Residence Halls Association committees and volunteered as a tutor at Jefferson Middle School since 1998. In August, will begin assistant coaching for a boy's soccer team in Rio Rancho.

"In addition to his exceptional academic performance, John has dedicated numerous hours to University and community service. He epitomizes the qualities of a Rhodes Scholar," said UNM President William C. Gordon.

The 2002 Rhodes Scholars were chosen Sunday from 925 applicants endorsed by 319 colleges and universities in a nationwide competition. Rhodes Scholarships provide two or three years of study at Oxford. The oldest of the international study awards available to American students, the will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and colonial pioneer, created the scholarships in 1902.

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