West Virginia University senior Amanda Walker is one step closer to being awarded a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. The Follansbee native was chosen yesterday (Dec. 6) by the West Virginia Rhodes Scholar Selection Commitee as the states 2000 representative and will advance to Saturdays (Dec. 9) Mid-Atlantic regional competition in Washington, D.C.

She will compete in the Mid-Atlantic region with students from Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Four students from this region will be selected as Rhodes Scholars; only 32 are awarded annually in the United States.

Walker, a chemistry and French major, attends WVU on a Foundation Scholarship, the institutions top academic award. She is currently WVUs student administration vice-president and has worked to improve the University health system and to organize new traditions on campus, such as the Mountaineer Maniacs Student Athletic Booster Club.

If awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, Walker will study philosophy and politics and eventually hopes to attend law school.

The Rhodes Scholarship among the most prestigious academic awards in the world is based on academic excellence, integrity, respect for others, leadership ability and sports prowess. The scholarship was established in 1902 by 19th century empire builder and politician Cecil Rhodes who dreamed of making an education at Oxford University available to English-speaking students. He willed an annual sum to provide two or three years of study in any field offered by the 800-year-old university.

WVU has an impressive record of Rhodes Scholars with 25 students having been selected over the years, including WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. Hardesty was awarded the scholarship in 1967 becoming WVUs 16th Rhodes Scholar. Carolyn Connor from Clay County was the last student to receive the award in 1995.

Walker was chosen from seven West Virginia students competing for the honor, including three other WVU students Christopher Greaver of Farmington, Joshua Whitehair of Clarksburg and Melinda Young of Charleston.