The University of Manitoba celebrated its 96th student receiving the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship last week.
Mark Hearson, who is in his fifth year of civil engineering, is the recipient of a 2012 Rhode Scholarship. The scholarship is considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious academic achievements. Recipients gain a post-graduate award for study at Oxford University, which includes from one to three years of tuition.
Worldwide, there are 83 recipients of the award each year.
Hearson explained that from a young age he was fascinated by Lego, building infrastructure and inventing new ways to move people and goods from one place to another efficiently.
He said he has continued to build on his passion by attaining his bachelor’s in civil engineering. Hearson explained that he has a passion for solving “the challenge of transporting seven billion plus people around the world as efficiently and safely as possible.”
Hearson said he was driven to pursue the prestigious award because the resources supplied by Oxford University, combined with the opportunity to work with other aspiring young thinkers, would be exactly what needed to expand on his passion for engineering.
When he was contacted by the prairie Rhodes committee secretary and told that he had been chosen as a scholar-elect, a possible candidate for the award, Hearson said he was in shock.
“However speechless I may have been, I was humbled by the committee’s choice,” he said.
To qualify for the rigorous standards laid out by the award is no easy feat, Hearson pointed out, as it requires not only literary and scholastic achievements but also examples of leadership.
Hearson explained that the leadership component was the most important to him, because it incorporates all the other criteria and sets an example so other leaders can step forward to make a difference.
When asked what advice he had for future aspiring students who want to pursue the Rhodes Scholarship, Hearson said he felt it was important to find “what they love to do.”
“Finding what you are passionate about will give so much more meaning to your everyday life. And if you haven’t found it yet, don’t worry, keep looking.”