Campus News

UGA Honors student named 2011 Rhodes Scholar

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia Honors student Tracy Yang of Macon has been awarded a 2011 Rhodes Scholarship to attend England’s Oxford University. She plans to pursue a master’s of science degree in global health science.

Yang, who is a UGA Foundation Fellow, also was a 2010 Truman Scholar.She plans to graduate from UGA in May with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. She is one of 32 Rhodes recipients in the United States and the only one from the state of Georgia.

Yang is UGA’s 22nd Rhodes Scholar and third UGA female student to be selected since 1976, the first year women were eligible to apply.Before Yang, UGA’s most recent recipients were Deep Shah and Kate Vyborny in 2008.

“The Rhodes Scholarship is a signal accomplishment for a university student and a reflection of the rigorous academic environment on the recipient’s home campus,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “Tracy Yang is representative of everything that is good about the UGA student body. She is, first and foremost, a dedicated student, but she is also committed to a life of serving others. I have no doubt that she will be one of those people who have a significant and positive impact on the world.”

With aspirations to pursue a career as a physician-policy analyst, Yang has concentrated her research as well as her local and international involvement on efforts to address public health disparities and improving access to services.

As a sophomore, Yang conducted research on the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi under the guidance of Rick Tarleton, Distinguished Research Professor in Cellular Biology. The parasite, which causes Chagas disease, has infected approximately 18 million people in Latin America.

She also participated in the Nathan Schnaper Cancer Research Intern Program in summer 2008, and in a public health and emergency preparedness internship at Greater New York Hospital Association in summer 2010. She has traveled to Nicaragua, working with medical personnel who provide health services to residents through community hospital or home visits.

Yang currently is working as an intern with the Athens Health Network, part of a community-based initiative to address poverty issues in Athens. She also serves as a mentor and ESL teacher in the local community.

Yang’s interest in policy decision-making precipitated her involvement with UGA’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institution, a national student-run think tank, in which she has served in several leadership roles. She also is an editor for UGA’s Journal for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, an online undergraduate research journal for the arts, humanities and social sciences.

“Tracy is an amazing person,” said David S. Williams, director of UGA’s Honors Program and the UGA faculty representative for the Rhodes Scholarship. “She displays an uncommon intellect, a deep sense of dedication, profound empathy and extraordinary energy. Yet, she remains completely down to earth and is a delight to be around. Rhodes Scholars are not just impressive intellects. They are supposed to make the world a better place. I have no doubt that Tracy will do just that.”

Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process. Candidates must first be endorsed by their college or university; then selection committees in each of 16 districts invite the strongest applicants for an interview. This year, 837 students were endorsed by 309 colleges and universities.

For more information about the Rhodes Scholarship program, see

For more information about UGA’s Honors and Foundation Fellows Programs, see