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UC Santa Cruz grad becomes the university’s first Rhodes Scholarship winner

garima desai
UC Santa Cruz
Garima Desai

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) Out of more than 2,000 applicants, a UC Santa Cruz grad has become the first in the school's history to win a Rhodes Scholarship.

Garima Desai was one of 32 students chosen from around the country who will attend graduate school at Oxford University will all expenses paid.

"When I first found out that I was even a finalist, it was incredible," Desai said. "So finding out that I had won was really surreal."

Desai graduated from UCSC this past spring with a double major in environmental studies and economics, according to the university, and she will pursue dual master's degrees in similar subject areas while at Oxford.

While at UCSC, Desai worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant and research assistant helping to study urbanization that involve climate change.

"I've had about 100 students take my environmental economics course over the last four years, and Garima was by far the highest-scoring student," said Jeremy West, an assistant professor of economics. "She also has incredible poise. It's one thing to be brilliant and academically gifted, but it's another to be able to communicate well and convey your insights."

Desai said her time at UCSC helped her to open her eyes to a variety of strategies for tackling environmental issues.

Since graduation, Desai has been working as a transportation planner in Oakland.

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.


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