Auburn University student and two spring graduates named Rhodes Scholarship finalists

Published: November 12, 2018
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An Auburn University student and two spring graduates have been named finalists for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

Senior Natalie Palmquist and spring graduates Katie Kirk and Chris Maurice will interview Nov. 16-17 to possibly be named among 32 U.S. Rhodes Scholars who will pursue graduate studies at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Palmquist, of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a senior civil engineering major and is minoring in philanthropy and nonprofit studies. She will interview in Salt Lake City as part of Rhodes District 13. Kirk and Maurice will interview in Birmingham as part of Rhodes District 7. Kirk, of Little Texas, Alabama, is a spring 2018 summa cum laude graduate with a major in philosophy and minors in German and English. Maurice, of New Orleans, is a spring 2018 summa cum laude graduate in finance.

“Our students engage and lead at extraordinarily high levels, and Chris, Katie and Natalie are wonderful examples of Auburn excellence,” Auburn President Steven Leath said. “We are eager to see the impact they will have on their communities and our world.”

Only 200 students are named finalists each year by the Rhodes Trust from among 1,000 students endorsed by their respective universities. The Rhodes Trust is a British charity established in 1904 to honor the will and bequest of Cecil J. Rhodes. Auburn’s Office of National Prestigious Scholarships in the Honors College coordinates Auburn’s endorsement process.

“Finalists for Rhodes Scholarships are already members of an exclusive group worldwide,” said Skip Bartol, associate dean of research and graduate studies in Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine and chair of the campus-wide interview committee. “This year’s finalists from Auburn are no exception.

“The Rhodes Trust states that 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. By these standards, Auburn’s Rhodes finalists are ready to compete, and prepared to lead.”

For more information about national prestigious scholarships at Auburn, contact Paul Harris, associate director of the Honors College, at paul.harris@auburn.edu.

More information about the Rhodes finalists:

Natalie Palmquist, of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a senior civil engineering major and is minoring in philanthropy and nonprofit studies. She serves as president of the Auburn University Engineers without Borders Chapter and is its Rwandan team leader. She is a program intern with Engineering Ministries International in Delhi, India; a recipient of the 100+ Women Strong Leadership Award; a Jeff Stone Scholarship recipient which recognizes outstanding leadership among civil engineering majors outside of their field of study; an International Student Orientation Leader with Auburn Global; an undergraduate teaching assistant in the College of Human Sciences; and vice president of the Turkish Student Organization. If named a Rhodes Scholar, she will pursue a master’s degree in development studies.

Katie Kirk, of Little Texas, Alabama, is a spring 2018 summa cum laude graduate with a major in philosophy and minors in German and English. She received the President’s Award for the College of Liberal Arts last spring as the top graduating senior. Her honors also include being a recipient of the Phi Kappa Phi Most Outstanding Second-Year Award; selected as Phi Beta Kappa her third year; and a finalist for Female Student Leader of the Year in 2017-2018. Last spring she was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany and is working at the Herschelschule Gymnasium in Hannover. If named a Rhodes Scholar, she will pursue a second bachelor’s degree in psychology, philosophy and linguistics.

Chris Maurice, of New Orleans, is a spring 2018 summa cum laude graduate in finance. He has been named as a 2018 iMerging Young Leader by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the University of Georgia’s 2018 Next Top Entrepreneur competition. He placed first in the Atlanta Regional Entrepreneur’s Organization Global Student Entrepreneurship 2018 Awards and was selected as the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business President’s Medal recipient last spring at Auburn. An Eagle Scout, for the past five years Maurice has served as a volunteer at the United Cerebral Palsy’s Camp SMILE in Mobile, Alabama. If awarded the Rhodes Scholarship, he will pursue a Master of Science in economics for development and a Master of Public Policy.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 29,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.