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Last modified: Monday, December 9, 2002

IU student named Rhodes Scholar

NOTE: A photo of Kathleen Tran is available at Additional information about American Rhodes Scholars is available at

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Kathleen Tran, a senior majoring in music, biochemistry and biology at Indiana University Bloomington, was named Saturday (Dec. 7) as one of 32 Americans to receive Rhodes Scholarships.

Tran's connections with the university run deep. Her father, Lanh Tran, is a professor of mathematics at IUB, and her mother, Sam Tran, is a systems analyst with the IUB registrar's office. Kathleen's father and mother came to this country from Vietnam in 1964 and 1972, respectively, and met in California. Her brother Andrew attends the IU School of Medicine; Kathleen plans to attend medical school following her studies at Oxford.

Kathleen first took classes at IU at age 11, studying piano with Luba Edlina-Dubinski of the IU School of Music. She began taking classes in French at IU at age 14.

News of the award topped off a hectic week for Tran and her family. The Rhodes Scholarship state selection committee interviewed applicants on Wednesday (Dec. 4) and chose nominees who appeared as finalists before district committees, which met on Saturday. Tran's district interviews were held in Chicago. Overall, 98 applicants reached the final stage of the competition.

"It is really sort of an overwhelming process. I was just happy to make it as a qualifier on the state level and then, suddenly, I was a Rhodes Scholar," Tran said.

"My professors at IU really encourged me to pursue this and I'm very appreciative," she added.

Tran is the 14th Indiana University student to be named a Rhodes Scholar. The last was Raju Raval of Fort Wayne in 2000. She is the second woman from IU to receive the honor.

At Oxford, Tran plans to work toward a master's degree in biodiversity and a master's degree in integrative bioscience. Last summer, she worked in cancer research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

Tran moved to Bloomington with her family when she was five months old when her father accepted a faculty position at IU. She attended public schools in Bloomington, graduating from Bloomington High School South in 1999. She was named a Wells Scholar at Indiana University in spring 2001.

At IU, Tran has served as the spokeswoman for the Vietnamese Students Association. She also has worked as a volunteer at the dialysis center at Bloomington Hospital.

Rhodes Scholarships provide two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. The Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest of the international study awards available to American students, were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and colonial pioneer.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen on the basis of high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor, according to the announcement. Rhodes wrote that Rhodes Scholars should "esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim."