Student from Leavenworth in Rhodes competition
A Kansas State University history major from Leavenworth is in the running for one of 32 Rhodes Scholarships that will be awarded this year in the United States.
Micaela Wood, a 21-year-old senior at Kansas State University, has been selected to participate at the state interview level to compete for a Rhodes Scholarship.
"It's pretty exciting and pretty scary," said Wood, whose maiden name is Simmons.
Today, Wood is in Lawrence, where she will undergo a half-hour interview with a five- to six-person committee.
Only two students among the 10 students who will compete on today will go onto the final round of interviews this weekend.
The 32 scholars from the United States will be announced at the conclusion of the weekend interviews.
If she were named a Rhodes Scholar, Wood would receive $40,000 to $60,000 to study for two years at Oxford University in England. She would pursue a second undergraduate degree in early modern British history, concentrating on the 17th and 18th centuries.
Studying British history, she said, would complement the work she's done at KSU in American history.
Wood, who is one of three KSU students in today's competition, has been preparing for months. It's been an arduous task.
"They could ask you anything," she said Sunday afternoon. "It's hard to decide when to stop preparing."
The university does its best to help the students, according to Jim Hohenbary, KSU's scholarship adviser.
"There's no way to fully anticipate the questions that will be asked at the state interviews," he said. "But we do have the students to through several practice interviews at the campus level with faculty to at least help them get used to the interview format."
Six to seven interviewers will meet at the same time with the students.
"They are looking for individuals who are interested in making a positive impact on their future profession and the world at large so they also are looking for people who show they are engaged with and know what's going on in the world," Hohenbary said.
Wood said she and the other students affectionately called the KSU sessions "the murder boards."
"It's been really helpful," she said. "That's one of the really nice things that K-State is so supportive of us."
That support has paid off.
Kansas State has a good track record with Rhodes Scholarships, boasting a total of 11. Since 1986, the university has had six.
The other two KSU students who have been selected to interview for the scholarships are Jared Rose, a junior in political science and philosophy with a minor in leadership studies from Lyons, and Tiffany Hockman, a senior in accounting from Shawnee.
If Wood is select as a Rhodes Scholar, her husband, David, a 1996 Leavenworth High School graduate, will accompany her to England.
He is graduating from Kansas State in May with a bachelor's degree in vocal performance. David Wood, who is the son of Bill and Rita Wood, Leavenworth, would try to enroll in graduate school or land a job.
Micaela Wood, who is the daughter of Sandy Simmons, Leavenworth, and Don Simmons, Medford, Okla., plans to teach at the collegiate level.
In addition to her major in history, she has a secondary major in international studies and a minor in political science. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society, secretary of the K-State chapter of Golden Key International Honor Society, and president of Phi Alpha Theta history honorary.
She has been a resident assistant in Putnam Hall, nominated for resident assistant of the year, and a university experience instructor 1999-2001.
In 2000, she received a Blue Key Peters Student Development Scholarship through the KSU Foundation. She also was a Putnam Scholar.
Wood said that even if she isn't selected as a Rhodes Scholar the process has been worthwhile.
"Even when I decided to try this way back in the spring, I knew going into it there's a huge, huge chance that this is not going to happen," she said. "I think I'm still having that attitude. I did it with the hope of becoming a Rhodes Scholar. I knew it would be a really good learning experience, no matter how far I went.
"I feel like I've grown a lot, both intellectually and as a person. And I'm glad I did it."