Topeka A Kansas University senior from Lawrence will be one of two women representing Kansas in regional competition Saturday for Rhodes Scholarships.
The state selection committee on Wednesday picked Pamela Dawn McElwee, 20, of Lawrence, and June M. Lyle, 21, of Manhattan, from among 13 state candidates. The regional competition will be in Minneapolis, Minn.
Parents of the nominees are Carl and Marge McElwee of Lawrence and Ken and Jo Lyle of Manhattan.
McElwee is majoring in environmental studies and political science at KU. If she wins a Rhodes Scholarship, she said, she will work toward an advanced degree in tropical forestry and wants to work on issues of deforestation and use of wood for fuel in developing countries.
LYLE IS majoring in journalism and English at the University of Indiana. She said she will work toward advanced degrees in English and hopes to teach English at the college level.
McElwee said her selection Wednesday as a Rhodes finalist was "a nice surprise," adding that she faced some stiff competition.
"I was impressed with all the other candidates. I'm really glad I'm not a committee member who has to make a decision," she said. "The candidates were in a wide variety of different disciplines, and that must have made it even harder to choose."
McElwee and Lyle compete Saturday against two other candidates each from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota at Minneapolis, where four Rhodes Scholars will be selected.
McElwee said her biggest priority between now and when she leaves Friday for Minneapolis is to rest.
"I'M GOING to get some sleep. I had two term papers due today," McElwee said.
Nationally, 32 scholars are named for a year of study at Oxford University in England. The scholarships are named for 19th-century British industrialist Cecil Rhodes, who funded the program.
In the past five years, eight of Kansas' 10 nominees have won Rhodes Scholarships.