A Penticton woman is one of 11 Canadians to be awarded a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for 2019.
Raised in Penticton, Linda Worden is a graduate of the Vancouver Island Pearson College UWC (United World Colleges).
She is the 14th student from Pearson to receive a Rhodes Scholarship. She attended the pre-university college in Metchosin from 2013 to 2015.
Worden is currently a political economy major at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
The scholarship is a is a highly-competitive postgraduate award given to exceptional students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford in the U.K. with the aim of nurturing public-spirited leaders of the future.
“I know the worldwide Pearson community wishes Linda all the best in her continuing education at Oxford and beyond,” said President and Head of College Désirée McGraw in a news release issued Friday. “Her commitment to social justice issues such as citizen participation, social exclusion, urban housing and sexual health education typifies the ‘big-thinking’ mindset and practical, problem-solving approach we nurture in young people at Pearson.”
Pearson is Canada’s only UWC institution of the 17 of the world, drawing up to 200 16-to-19-year-old students from across the country and from as many as 160 nations around the world.
“Pearson was a transformational two years of my life where I grew to value all of the unique life experiences of my classmates,” said Worden in the release.
Asked who made a particular impression on her at the College, Worden said: “I would say Samuel (Perez de Leon), the economics teacher, was a huge influence on me during my time at Pearson. He helped me believe that economics could be a tool to build a better world.”
Worden indicated she plans to use her Rhodes Scholarship to pursue an M.Phil. in comparative social policy, examining citizen participation in policy formation, particularly in countries like Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
Worden’s early years in Penticton saw her first engagement in community activism and leadership on issues like and the construction of a local prison. More recently, her focus on housing issues saw her researching and working at the intersections of marginal identities, tenant empowerment and housing insecurity in Vancouver and other centres.
In total, 100 Rhodes Scholarships were awarded to outstanding young men and women this year from more than 60 countries.