2 Pa. Students Among Newest Rhodes Scholars

Sunday, Nov 24, 2013  |  Updated 2:35 PM EDT
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2 Pa. Students Among Newest Rhodes Scholars

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A green lawn on Oxford University is seen through a stone arch.

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This year's Rhodes Scholars include two students from southeastern Pennsylvania and one from Northern New Jersey.

Alexander Wang of Doylestown, in Bucks County, Evan Behrle of Oxford, in Chester County, and Alexander J. Diaz of North Bergen, were among the 32 Rhodes Scholars from the United States announced Sunday. The scholarships provide all expenses to study at Oxford University in England.

Wang is a senior at New York University, Abu Dhabi, where he is studying social research and public policy. The Rhodes Trust said Wang has worked to improve the living conditions of immigrant workers in Abu Dhabi.

He also founded and is editor-in-chief of a social science journal, and founded and is president of an organization coordinating volunteer opportunities across Abu Dhabi.

Behrle is a senior at the University of Virginia where he is studying government and foreign affairs. He chairs the university's student-run organization that decides cases on lying, stealing and cheating and is also president of an all-male sexual assault peer advocacy group that helps assault survivors and attempts to prevent sexual assaults.

Diaz is a senior at Harvard, where he majors in psychology. He also plays club basketball and has served as manager for the university's basketball team.

Diaz has focused his studies and research on the cognitive mechanisms that underlie unconscious race, ethnic and gender bias. He's also worked with leading law enforcement authorities to use psychological research to achieve less biased trials.

"This honor gives me the chance to learn more about social policy and also provides a platform to help get the changes I want implemented, to help people learn more about themselves and others,'' Diaz said.

While he's overseas, Diaz hopes to travel around Europe. He also plans to visit many communities in England and the United Kingdom to study and learn from the people who live in those areas.

"I didn't know if it was real at first,'' he said Sunday about learning that he had been chosen as Rhodes Scholar. ``There were feelings of joy and tears of joy. I don't cry too much, but this has been a dream of mine and it's a blessing to just receive this tremendous award.''

This year's Rhodes Scholars were selected from 857 applicants endorsed by 327 colleges and universities.

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