When Ian Sue Wing ’93 came to Dartmouth from Trinidad, he was determined to devote all of his time to academics so that he could someday use his talents to help Third World nations, particularly Trinidad.
Four years of pulling all-nighters and committing almost every waking minute to his studies brought Sue Wing his goal – and a Rhodes Scholarship.
Sue Wing received his A.B. in Engineering Sciences last June and completed the requirements for the bachelor’s degree in engineering at the Thayer School this past December. He was named a Rhodes Scholar in December.
The Rhodes Scholarship will allow him to study the economics of Third World development at Oxford University in London, England.
Sue Wing’s motivation to become a Rhodes Scholar began early in his college career, stemming in part from the dedication of his fellow Trinidadian Joan Morris ’90, who also received a Rhodes Scholarship.
“I came to Dartmouth from a Third World country, and I felt alienated with the Dartmouth culture,” Sue Wing said. “I dedicated myself to my engineering studies, because I wanted to succeed, and because a lot of the social life at Dartmouth wasn’t for me.”
“The Trinidadian culture has a very strongly education-oriented society. My desire for knowledge was not just for myself, but to apply my knowledge for implementation in Third World development,” Sue Wing added.
According to Sue Wing, his Dartmouth experience, combined with his desire and determination, pushed him to achieve his goals.
“Dartmouth offered me unparalleled opportunities to develop myself as well as get skills and tools necessary to aid in my country’s development,” Sue Wing said.
“I was galvanized by the shock of adjustment,” he said. “The standards of living were much higher than in Trinidad. I found much of the social interactions and non-material aspects of the American culture superficial.”
The Rhodes Scholarship program, created from money donated by Cecil Rhodes, the British industrialist and philanthropist, funds 79 selected scholars each year from universities in the United States, Germany and the former British colonies for a two year term of study at Oxford.
In awarding Rhodes Scholarships, the Committee of Selection considers the applicant’s intellectual promise, high academic achievement, integrity of character, interest in and respect for human beings, the ability to lead, the energy to use their talents to the fullest, and participation and success in sports. However, varsity athletics is not a prerequisite for the awarding of the Rhodes Scholarship.
In addition to his high academic achievements, Sue Wing was actively involved in kigitsu, a form of martial arts, as well as the African American Society and the International Student Society.
Sue Wing used his experiences as an international student to write a chapter in a novel by Andrew Garrod, professor of English, and Jay Davis, former assistant director of the Composition Center, on how international students react to American college life.
While at Dartmouth, Sue Wing received several awards for academic excellence, including the Churchill Prize for academic excellence in the freshman year, the W.E. DuBois Award for general academic excellence, the Mary and Herman Hartman Fellowship at the Thayer School and the E.E. Just Prize in Science and Engineering, awarded by the African American Society.
In his sophomore year, he was awarded the Charles Collis Award to continue his studies at Dartmouth and during his senior year, he participated in the Presidential Scholars Program.
Sue Wing plans to use his time at Oxford to earn a M.S.C in the Economics of Third World Development. His research will deal with “environmental consequences of political and economic inequity in Third World development,” a news release stated.
There have been 60 Rhodes Scholars in Dartmouth’s history and the College normally produces a Rhodes Scholar every other year, according to Susan Wright, dean of graduate studies and the executive secretary to the committee of graduate fellowships.
Aside from Dartmouth, nine other Ivy League students were awarded Rhodes Scholarships this year, five from Harvard University and one each from Yale University, Columbia University, Cornell University, and Princeton University.
Rhodes Scholars are selected first through state and then regional competitions. Students can apply either through their home state or the state in which their college is located.
Each state selects two semi-finalists, who then compete at the regional level in eight districts composed of six states each. Four finalists are selected from each district to become Rhodes Scholars.
In addition to the 32 scholars selected from the United States, 11 are chosen from Canada, 8 from Australia, three from India,two from New Zealand, two from Germany, nine from South Africa and nine others from the former British colonies in the Caribbean and Africa.
At Dartmouth, most of the applicants receive a recommendation from the Committee on Graduate Fellowships. In order to receive this recommendation, the candidate must go through an evaluative interview. Normally, ten Dartmouth students are nominated each year.
“Students nominated for Rhodes Scholars must not only have very strong academic credentials, but also be proven in a particular field or excel in some other interest,” said James Steffenson, chair of the Committee of Graduate Fellowships.