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International Student Named Rhodes Scholar

Nikkita Ngalande

Nikkita Ngalande, an Honors College senior majoring in actuarial science in the College of Natural Science, has been named a Rhodes Scholar from her home country of Zambia.

The 19th Rhodes Scholar from Michigan State University, Ngalande is the first MSU international student to earn the recognition.

The Rhodes Trust, the oldest of the major international competitive award foundations, provides 100 of the most outstanding undergraduates across the world an opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in England.

Rhodes Scholarships are offered in 22 countries with the United States receiving 32 of the 100 scholarships. Two students from Zambia were selected for the scholarship this year.

“As a Rhodes Scholar, I will have the unique opportunity to engage with some of the world’s most promising minds from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, to reflect on some of the world’s most pressing challenges and to push the boundaries of knowledge,” Ngalande said. “At Oxford, I will seize the opportunity to holistically nurture and explore the dimensions of my character, my intellectual interests and my role in the world.”

Ngalande, from Lusaka, Zambia, is vice president of the African Student Leadership Association. She attended the annual International Model African Union in Washington, D.C., earning awards for best delegate and outstanding chairperson in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

“These scholarships represent the oldest and most celebrated international recognitions for students in higher education,” said Interim President John Engler. “Our entire MSU community is proud of Nikkita, her accomplishments and her Spartan commitment to making a positive impact on our world.”

Ngalande plans to study mathematical and computational finance at Oxford University.

“Nikkita’s intelligence and intrinsic curiosity has shaped the leader she is today and will no doubt shape the leader she will become,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the Honors College.

Ngalande’s research as an undergraduate at MSU focuses on the fiscal sustainability of local governments within Michigan. She interned with Swiss Re in New York and in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Nikkita has been a student who accomplishes more than what is required in the classroom, and she has completed an impressive honors project on insurance linked securities,” said Gee Lee, assistant professor in the Department of Statistics and Probability and Department of Mathematics. “In addition to being an excellent student, she had decency in her interaction with me and with others.”

  • Stephanie Cepak and Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore via MSU Today

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