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Release: Immediate

Two UI students to interview for Rhodes Scholarships Dec. 1-2 in Des Moines

(Editors note: Both students are available to speak with reporters during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Pfau can be reached at 515/288-4249. Karlen can be reached at 515/964-7349.)

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Two University of Iowa seniors have been selected as state finalists in the competition for Rhodes Scholarships. Wade Pfau, a Des Moines native, and Sarah Karlen, a Polk City native, will be interviewed Tuesday Dec. 1 and Wednesday Dec. 2 in Des Moines along with other Iowa students competing for the prestigious scholarships. The state selection committee will choose two students to advance to the regional competition in Minneapolis Dec. 4-5.

"It's exciting to have two students reach this level in the competition," said Sandra Barkan, assistant dean in the UI Graduate College and the interim campus coordinator for Rhodes Scholarship applications. "These are two truly spectacular students."

Karlen, a biology and psychology double major, will graduate with honors in May 1999 having spent her undergraduate years actively engaged in numerous research projects. She spent a year as a Howard Hughes intern working with Erin Irish, an assistant professor of biological sciences and has also completed her own original laboratory research under the direction of Mark Blumberg, an associate professor of psychology. She was invited to present her psychology research at the annual conference of the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology in Orleans, France in July 1998.

If selected to study at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, Karlen said she would like to pursue a Bachelor of Arts Honors degree in the department of zoology. Her educational goals also include earning a Ph.D.

Pfau, an economics, history, and political science triple major, will also graduate with honors in all three of his chosen disciplines in May 1999. As an undergraduate, Pfau has sought out a number of opportunities to work in governmental offices, culminating with a term as an intern in the White House Senate Liaison Office of Legislative Affairs in the summer of 1998. Before that, Pfau had completed summer internships in Gov. Branstad's office as well as in Sen. Chuck Grassley's office.

Pfau has earned numerous scholarships at the UI, including a Presidential Scholarship and departmental top scholar awards from both the economics and political science departments. He has also logged more than 150 hours as a tour guide at the Old Capitol on the UI campus and is a member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team. If selected to study at Oxford University, Pfau said he would read for the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics course. He plans a career in public service.

The finalists selected in Iowa will compete at the regional level with finalists from Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The regional selection committee may award up to four scholarships.