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Senior Zachary Lien Interviews as Finalist for 2018 Rhodes Scholar

December 04, 2017

University of Idaho international studies and political science major Zachary Lien interviewed as a finalist for the Class of 2018 Rhodes Scholars by the University of Oxford Rhodes Trust in Seattle in November. 

Originally from Boise, Lien is a senior in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences and a member of the Honors Program. Lien was chosen from among other finalists in District 14, which consists of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Reaching the finalist stage of the highly competitive Rhodes award is a great academic honor. Since 1904, the University of Idaho has had 20 students selected as Rhodes Scholars, the last in 1989. 

“It was a wonderful honor and opportunity to compete as a Rhodes Finalist, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the other finalists, who were all remarkable students and people,” Lien said. “I am also proud to have represented the University of Idaho, which has offered me unique research opportunities as well as a strong sense of a community.”

Each year, fewer than 100 students around the globe are selected as Rhodes Scholars. The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and most prestigious international scholarship program.

In 2017, Lien was one of 15 students in the U.S. selected to participate in the Rangel Undergraduate International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program. He also was one of 16 students selected for the summer 2016 Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows Program. In addition to numerous other awards, as a freshman in 2015, Lien was named an outstanding freshman and joined one of the research groups in U of I’s Martin Institute. In the Martin Institute, Lien has focused his studies on human rights violations faced by apostates, or people who renounce their religion, in Islamic countries. He was a recipient of a grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research for his work.

“What a joy it has been to work with Zach these past four years,” said Bill Smith, director of the Martin Institute and Program in International Studies. “He’s as smart and as savvy as they come, and he makes the people around him better too. Reaching the finalist stage of this process takes dedication, and he deserves that recognition.”

Media Contact:
Holly LaHann
Distinguished Scholarships Coordinator

Brad Gary
Communications Coordinator

Zachary Lien

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, a research and Extension center in Twin Falls, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to more than 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference and Sun Belt Conference. Learn more: