Cowgirl Golfer Jessica Mellinger Of Sheridan Named One Of 32 Rhodes Scholars

Dec. 8, 1999

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

University of Wyoming senior JessicaMellinger of Sheridan, a member of the University of Wyoming women's golfteam, was chosen this week as one of 32 college students in the nation toreceive a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England.

Mellinger plans on pursuing a career in medicine. She is currently completing a double major in English and molecular biology at UW. Mellingerhas been a member of the University of Wyoming women's golf team all fouryears she has attended UW. She is the daughter of Leslie and Ken Mellingerof Sheridan, Wyo.

"This is an overwhelming honor," said Jessica Mellinger. "I amlooking forward to studying English at Oxford beginning next fall. I stillplan to become a doctor, but I think it is important to study a balance ofscience and humanities. By studying English, I believe it will help mebecome a more empathetic physician someday.

"Jill (Johnson) always set academics as a priority for us asstudent-athletes," added Mellinger. "Hopefully, I'll be able to fulfill agolf dream of mine while I'm in England -- that is to play St. Andrews golfcourse in Scotland."

"We are extremely proud of Jessica," said University of WyomingAthletics Director Lee Moon. "Of all the outstanding college studentsnationally to apply for this honor, she was one of only 32 to be selected.It is extremely difficult to manage the demands of being a student-athleteat the collegiate level, and for her to succeed at such a high level is acredit to her. We congratulate her and her family for this honor. We arealso proud that Jessica earns the distinction of being the firststudent-athlete in Mountain West Conference history to earn a RhodesScholarship."

"We are so happy for Jessica," said UW women's golf coach JillJohnson. "She has worked extremely hard, both academically and as a memberof our golf team, throughout her time at the University. To see her awardeda Rhodes Scholarship is just unbelievable. To earn such a distinction issomething I know she is excited about, and our entire team is excited forher."

Mellinger is a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the pre-professionalhonor society for students planning a career in medicine. She is also a UWHonors Program participant, and holds a Trustee's Superior StudentScholarship. As a sophomore, Mellinger earned membership in Spurs, thesophomore honor society.

This year's class of applicants for the Rhodes Scholarship included930 students from 323 colleges and universities across the United States.The University of Wyoming was one of only 26 colleges and universities tohave a student chosen for the honor. Rhodes Scholars are chosen from UnitedStates citizens ages 18-24 who have completed or will soon complete abachelor's degree. Candidates must display a "proven intellectual andacademic achievement of a high standard, integrity of character, interest inand respect for fellow human beings, the ability to lead and the energy touse their talents to the fullest."

Cecil J. Rhodes (1853-1902) established the Rhodes Scholarshipprogram for candidates from the British Commonwealth and the United Statesto study at Oxford University. Rhodes was a British business leader in thelate 1800s.

Mellinger becomes the first UW Rhodes Scholar since Geraldine Wrightof Casper, Wyo., who received the honor in 1994. Wright was a botany majorwho graduated from UW in the spring of 1994. She began her studies atOxford University in the fall of '94.