PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portlander is the first University of Oregon student in 16 years to be selected for the prestigious Rhodes scholarship.

Following Rhodes Trust’s announcement on Tuesday morning, UO unveiled that senior Nayantara Arora was one of the 32 students nationwide to be tapped for the program.

This year, more than 2,500 students started the application process and just 862 were endorsed by staff at their respective schools.

Established in 1902, the fellowship is one of the oldest in the world. It typically covers two to three years of graduate study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, although some scholars have received as much as $250,000 for four years of study.

Starting in October 2024, Arora will pursue one master’s degree in modeling for global health and another in international health and tropical medicine.

The senior told UO that her jaw “unironically dropped” when she learned that she’d been awarded with this year’s scholarship.

“I spent the first few minutes in absolute disbelief and guilt because I was surrounded by deserving, hardworking, and brilliant peers,” Arora said. “The actual excitement and adrenaline didn’t hit me until I had the chance to pinch myself, hug everyone, and shake the judges’ hands several times.”

She’s the 20th Rhodes Scholar in the history of the university, and the only scholar from a Pac-12 school this year.

Arora is currently studying neuroscience at UO’s Clark Honors College, in addition to two minors in chemistry and global health. She’s already conducted research at the university, mostly focused on “global health biomarkers in Tunisia and the relationship between the vascular system and Alzheimer’s disease.”

She’s also worked as a content-creating intern with the U.S. State Department since 2019.