UC Merced student awarded Rhodes Scholarship

UC Merced grad student Selina Brinkmann has made the Central Valley her home, conducting research on sustainable water management for agriculture.
MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- A UC Merced student is being recognized internationally for her academics and research.

When UC Merced grad student Selina Brinkmann first learned she had been awarded a Rhodes scholarship, she didn't believe it.

"I was very tired that night because I stayed up for the interview, and I just thought it was a dream," said Brinkmann. "I looked at it and was like, 'Cool, nice dream'."

Brinkmann is the University's first Rhodes Scholar. Born in Germany, Brinkmann studied abroad in high school and college and for her masters degree she knew she wanted to come to the U.S.

"There are a lot more opportunities to work in a lab and do research in the U.S." said Brinkmann. "I knew for my masters I wanted to have a more hands-on experience and collect more research."

Of all the schools in the nation, UC Merced stood out as a top choice.

"Going to UC Merced, I was at least sure that the class sizes would be small, I'd have intimate contact with class members and professors," said Brinkmann.

The master's student has made the Central Valley her home, conducting research on sustainable water management for agriculture.

"Her passion is really what drives her, it's passion that really drives our students," said UC Merced's Dean of Engineering Mark Matsumoto.

That passion led her to the Rhodes Scholarship. Awarded to 100 of the best students from across the globe, the Rhodes Scholarship gives them a full ride to the prestigious University of Oxford in England.

"So my interview was in the middle of the night because of German time, so I went to bed and when I woke up I had the email saying yes or no," said Brinkmann. "I called my mom, my dad, I was super excited."

Brinkmann will start her doctorate program at Oxford this fall. She hasn't ruled out returning to UC Merced though, but next time as a professor.

"We wish Selina every success, and we'd love to have her back as a faculty," said Matsumoto.
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