Two students selected as Rhodes finalists, one Marshall finalist

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Samia Ismail and Coleman Warren

U of A alumnus Samia Ismail and currently senior Coleman Warren have been named finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship, the world’s most prestigious scholarship to complete postgraduate studies in the UK.

Ismail was named a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship, and Warren is a finalist for the Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships.

Ismail graduated summa cum laude in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and a minor in Arabic. Warren graduated in Industrial Engineering and Political Science from the College of Engineering and the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. Ismail and Warren are both Harry S. Truman Fellows, who have recognized them as two of the best future public servants in the country.

“Samia and Coleman are amazing people with stellar academic records and a history of service that makes them both very deserving of this recognition,” said Terry Martin, Acting President and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. “The university couldn’t be prouder of them for this honor, but more importantly, for their commitment to serving the Arkansans on important issues such as medical care in rural communities and food insecurity in the city. ‘State. Whatever the outcome of these competitions, they will both make a significant difference to the state and our communities. “

Finalists for both awards are selected each year from hundreds of applicants across the country. The Marshall scholarship provides for one or two years of graduate study at any university in the UK. The Rhodes Scholarship provides for up to three years of study at the University of Oxford. Interviews for both awards are taking place this week.


Ismail, a native of Fort Smith, was named the 2020 Senior in Outstanding Biomedical Engineering, received a 2018 Golden Tusk Award, and received a Travel Grant for Under-Represented Minorities from the Public Policy Institute of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

She ultimately plans to attend medical school and work as a practitioner in rural Arkansas, while helping to shape policy that improves access to medical care and health outcomes for people living in rural Arkansas.

“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen as a Rhodes finalist, and I owe this opportunity in large part to my advisors and mentors both at the University of Arkansas and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. “she said. “It is very exciting that attention is being paid not only to my individual efforts, but to the broader subject of rural health disparities in America, especially for the underserved and marginalized in these communities.”

As a student, Ismail was heavily involved both on campus and in the community. She continued on-campus research with Jamie Hestekin, professor of chemical engineering, and completed an honors thesis under the supervision of Raj Rao, professor of biomedical engineering. After her freshman year, she was accepted to a competitive research position at the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston.

She has also served in several volunteer and leadership roles on campus, as a member of the Honors College Special Events Committee, student representative of the Chancellor’s Commission on Women, Chair of the Distinguished Lectures Committee, Vice Chair of the program of the Office of Student Activities. Allocations Council and Co-Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Associate Student Government.

Off campus, she was heavily involved in politics, volunteering for several state-level campaigns. She is currently a Truman-Albright Fellow working for the Federal Bureau of Rural Health Policy, where she co-led a coalition comprising federal and NGO partners to identify best practices and funding opportunities relating to the mental health needs of women. farmers, ventilator distributions to rural areas during COVID, access to health care for various communities and other issues affecting rural health.

Coleman Warren

Coleman Warren, originally from Farmington, is the current president of the associated student government. As an incoming freshman, he was awarded the Governor of Arkansas Distinguished Scholarship, and he is also the recipient of the Second Year Award in Industrial Engineering, a scholarship from the Academy of Industrial Engineers. of Arkansas and the President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award.

Warren envisions a career focused on helping reduce child food insecurity in Arkansas, and he hopes to eventually run for Congress.

“I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and all the great people who have supported me to get to this point in the process,” said Coleman. “The Rhodes and Marshall Fellowships are unique opportunities to gain a world-class education with a community of change makers from around the world. I am excited to represent Arkansas and hope to develop a deeper understanding of how to address intractable issues like food insecurity in the state and nationwide.

Prior to being elected president, Warren held several positions in the Associate Student Government, including Director of Policy and Director of Open Educational Resources. He has also volunteered for the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and as the Razorback Food Recovery Partner Coordinator for the Volunteer Action Center.

A politician, he volunteered for local campaigns and, in the summer of 2021, served as a legislative intern for the United States House of Representatives.

After his freshman year, Warren was the AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate for the Heartland Food Bank in Omaha, Nebraska. While there, he developed the idea of ​​starting a small business to serve as a source of income for the benefit of Northwest Arkansas nonprofits working to reduce food insecurity. in children. Back home, he started Simple + Sweet, an artisanal ice cream company that has so far donated over $ 10,000 to local nonprofits.

In addition, he founded Simply Feeding, a non-profit organization that aims to help rural students sell ice cream to benefit their communities while gaining valuable entrepreneurial knowledge.

Students or alumni interested in applying for prestigious scholarships should contact the National Competitive Awards Office at [email protected]

About the Marshall Scholarship: Beginning with the first twelve Marshall Fellows in 1954, Marshall Fellowships were established to fund highly qualified young Americans to study for a graduate degree in the United Kingdom. Marshall Fellows strengthen the lasting relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions. Marshall Fellows are talented, independent and diverse. It allows recipients one to three years of graduate study at any UK university. The U of A’s first Marshall Fellow was John Edie, selected in 1960. The fellowships recognize the work of US Secretary of State George C. Marshall and express the gratitude of the United Kingdom for the economic assistance received under the of the Marshall Plan after World War II. Marshall Fellowship winners are selected for their potential to excel as scholars, leaders and contributors to a better understanding between the United States and the United Kingdom The University of Arkansas has had eight Marshall Fellows, including Victoria Maloch (2017), Mike Norton (2014), Ben Hood (2002), Megan Ceronsky (2001), Warwick Sabin (1998), Charles King (1990), Lisa Pruitt (1989) and John Edie (1960).

About the Rhodes Scholarship: The Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest international scholarship, was launched after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902. The scholarship is intended to bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford. The first American Fellows were elected in 1904, and Neil Carothers of the University of Arkansas was the Rhodes Fellow that first year. Rhodes Scholars are elected for two years of study at the University of Oxford with the possibility of renewal for a third year. Ten students from the University of Arkansas have been selected as Rhodes Scholars. The most recent was Anna Terry (2000).

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers internationally competitive education in over 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes to more than $ 2.2 billion for the Arkansas economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the top 3% of US colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. American News and World Report ranks the U of A among the best public universities in the country. Find out how the U of A is working to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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