An ETSU alumnus is a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious awards in the world. 

An East Tennessee State University alumnus is a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world. 

Shivam Patel, a 2022 health sciences graduate and first-generation student, will find out if he wins on Saturday, Nov. 11. If Patel is awarded the scholarship, he will be ETSU’s first Rhodes Scholar. 

“Regardless if Shivam wins or not, his making it this far as a Rhodes finalist has created an enduring culture and tradition that will benefit everyone connected to ETSU, our community and our region,” said Dr. Carson Medley, assistant dean of the Honors College and director of Prestigious Awards.  

Patel is just one of 16 students who will represent District 12 which includes Tennessee, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee. 

 “These five states alone have around 275 colleges and universities,” Medley added. “And the committee selected a young man who graduated from ETSU to compete against the nation’s other top institutions and scholars – most of whom hail from the Ivory towers of academia.” 

Involved in undergraduate research under the mentorship of Dr. Sean Fox, he spent his spare time volunteering with student organizations on campus and outreach programs in the community. 

He served with the ETSU chapter of the American Society of Microbiology, the Student Government Association and the Preview and Orientation Leaders Organization. He was also a member of the Roan Scholars Leadership Program. Outside of ETSU, he volunteered with the RAM clinic, United Way and local political campaigns. 

And last year, the university named him a member of the 1911 Society, a group of ETSU’s most notable graduates.   

Patel is presently in his first year of medical school at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. If he wins, he plans to pursue a Master's Degree in Medical Anthropology. Patel minored in Culture and Health at ETSU. 

“From the Appalachian Highlands to the global stage, ETSU nurtures potential and celebrates the achievements of our graduates,” said Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are so proud of Shivam and all he has accomplished.” 

ETSU has signaled its commitment to assist students in the process of applying for nationally and globally competitive scholarships.  

“The Office of Prestigious Awards is really about scholar development, the transformational process of applying for these awards. Shivam is proof that the process works,” said Medley.  

In recent years, students have secured prestigious awards, including a Goldwater Scholarship and one from the U.S. Department of State


East Tennessee State University was founded in 1911 with a singular mission: to improve the quality of life for people in the region and beyond. Through its world-class health sciences programs and interprofessional approach to health care education, ETSU is a highly respected leader in rural health research and practices. The university also boasts nationally ranked programs in the arts, technology, computing, and media studies. ETSU serves approximately 14,000 students each year and is ranked among the top 10 percent of colleges in the nation for students graduating with the least amount of debt.

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