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Honors College Alumnus Stewart Humble Named a Finalist for the Prestigious Rhodes Scholarship

Recent LSU graduate Stewart Humble, a native of Egan, La., has been named a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England, and may allow funding in some instances for four years.

Humble said he was excited to receive an email alerting him that he’d been named a Rhodes Scholarship finalist, but was almost immediately ready to move onto the next phase of the process.  

“I was excited, but at the same time, I was sort of, ‘now it’s go time,’ he said. “I love the fact that I’m getting recognized for this, but … I’m really not quite ready to settle for just being a finalist. I’m ready to move on to that next jump, and that’s phase two for me.”

The next phase has started with mock interviews and other preparations for the official interview process beginning Friday, Nov. 16, in Houston. He is one of 16 finalists in the district that includes Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma and from this group, two students will be named Rhodes Scholars on Saturday, Nov. 17.

“One of my motivations behind this is to represent LSU and represent this state; this is my home,” said Humble.

Dating back to 1905, 14 students from LSU have been named Rhodes Scholars, with Drew Lamonica Arms, now director of fellowship advising for the LSU Honors College, being the last student honored in 1995.

Humble graduated from the College of Science with a perfect grade-point-average in May 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a minor in chemistry. A member of the LSU Honors College, he graduated with Upper Division Honors Distinction.

“Stewart is a truly remarkable young man who sets very high standards for himself and excels in everything that he does,” said Kevin Carman, dean of the LSU College of Science. “I particularly admire that in addition to his outstanding scholarly accomplishments, he has dedicated himself to serving those who are less fortunate. He brings great honor to LSU and is a role model for us all. I am thrilled but not surprised that Stewart is a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship – clearly he would be a most deserving recipient.”

As a senior at LSU, Humble was selected to the LSU Tiger Twelve, one of 12 seniors who contributed positively to the life of the campus and surrounding community, and received the Leo and Insa Abraham Award, granted to two outstanding Honors College seniors each year. He was named Honors College Outstanding freshman, sophomore, junior and senior during each of his four years at LSU.

“Stewart has it all – talent, determination, and sensitivity to others,” said Nancy Clark, dean of the LSU Honors College. “He excelled in his studies and he makes a difference in the lives of all the people he reaches in his service work. He will make the world a better place, and will be a credit to LSU as well as the Rhodes Trust.”

Since January 2011, Humble has been a lab assistant in the LSU Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biological Sciences. He completed his Upper Division Honors Thesis research on “Synthesis and Cellular Investigations of the 131-Lysyl Derivative of Chlorin e6,” exploring the development of novel photosensitizers for applications in photodynamic therapy, or PDT cancer treatments. PDT is a method for cancer treatment that uses a photosensitizer and visible light to produce reactive oxygen species that will destroy malignant cells.  

If he receives the Rhoades Scholarship, Humble would have the opportunity to earn two master’s degrees in two years. For one of the degrees, he is interested in global health science to help to enhance his experiences serving local communities and combating, through research and service, a global epidemic such as HIV/AIDS.

“One of my goals is to be part of that program, global health studies, because I’d love to be involved with not only global health, but how that applies to here at home,” he said. “If I get the Rhodes scholarship, I may be going out of this country and learning different things in another place, but everything I’m going to learn is going to help prepare me for problems even back here at home.”

He would like to further understand global health challenges by undertaking graduate studies in epidemiology, tropical medicine, vaccinology and maternal/child health. Such an array of disciplines will help to prepare him when approaching issues such as the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.

This fall, Humble has been working at Volunteer Health Corps in Baton Rouge, where he shadows physicians during appointments, assists with document processing, manages patient check-in, visits with patients, provides administrative backup, and performs other duties as desired under physician and nurse supervision at free clinics throughout the Baton Rouge area.

An athlete in high school, Humble participated in walk-on tryouts with the LSU football team for the position of long snapper during fall 2008, fall 2010 and spring 2011. He works as a photographer for the LSU Honors College and as a sports photographer for the LSU softball summer camps.

About the Rhodes Scholarship

Each year 32 young Americans are selected as Rhodes Scholars, through a decentralized process representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Applicants from more than 300 American colleges and universities have been selected as Rhodes Scholars.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead. The Rhodes Trust, a British charity established to honor the will and bequest of Cecil J. Rhodes, provides full financial support for Rhodes Scholars to pursue a degree or degrees at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The first American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.

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Ernie  Ballard 

LSU Media Relations