4th Rhodes Finalist in 5 Years

  • Jordan Gonzalez BA ’21

In late November, Jordan Gonzalez BA ’21 advanced to the final round of interviews for the Rhodes Scholarship, widely regarded as the most prestigious international scholarship program in the world. The scholarship allows exceptional, leadership-driven students from around the globe to pursue higher degrees at the University of Oxford. Gonzalez is the fourth Lewis & Clark student to be named a Rhodes finalist in the last five years.

While Gonzalez did not ultimately receive the scholarship, his placement as a finalist is an achievement in itself—this year, more than 2,300 students began the application process, with spots for only 32.

Gonzalez, a chemistry and mathematics double major, came to Lewis & Clark as a first-generation college student from Chandler, Arizona. He quickly established a trajectory of accomplishment. In his first year, he was named a Pamplin Scholar, the college’s highest student honor. He was later named a Goldwater Scholar before completing a senior honors thesis in the chemistry department as a junior, a rare accomplishment.

“I didn’t really see myself at a big state school,” Gonzalez says. “I function well in small groups and cohorts. I can attribute a lot of my success to being able to work with faculty and getting to know them.” He’s done research with Professor of Chemistry Louis Kuo and has been mentored by Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry Anne Bentley.

Gonzalez has balanced his academic work alongside his position on the baseball team, which he trained to join after being cut his first year. He now serves as pitcher, team captain, and cochair of the Student-Athlete Committee, a testament to his unwavering perseverance.

Although Gonzalez was not selected for the Rhodes Scholarship, he still intends to pursue a higher degree at the University of Oxford, perhaps in a program that aligns with his interest in pharmaceutical research. “I think I can contribute to that area,” he says. “The work I’ve been able to do has given me the tools to think about doing my own research.”