SEATTLE — A love of history and a desire to show that there’s more to Scotland than actor Mel Gibson in a kilt helped set Elizabeth Angell on her way to becoming a Rhodes Scholar.
Angell, 20, of Bainbridge Island was one of 32 American students awarded the prestigious scholarship Sunday. The competition included 925 applicants who were endorsed by 319 colleges and universities throughout the country.
Angell, who entered the University of Washington at age 15, holds bachelor’s degrees in history and international studies. She now works at the university’s Women’s Center and at its Jackson School of International Studies and is a teaching assistant in an international studies class.
Until the attacks of Sept. 11, she was on a three-month University of Washington fellowship in which she was learning what it’s like to be a Western woman traveling solo through the Middle East. She returned home because her family was worried about her safety, she said, and she did not want the trip overshadowed by security concerns.
But ever since she heard Scottish music while in her early teens, one of her favorite topics has been Scotland. She plans to earn a master’s degree in modern history while studying Scotland at Oxford.
It’s an interesting time to be studying Scotland, she says. The United Kingdom has granted Scotland more autonomy, with the Scottish Parliament now making decisions on health care, education, transportation and other issues.
The fascination already led her to study once in Edinburgh, where she learned to speak Scottish Gaelic. She says she’ll return often while in the United Kingdom.
Eventually, Angell wants to earn a doctorate and teach at a university.
"I want to be a historian," she says. "That’s my life goal."
Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.