University of New Mexico student, Katarina Pacheco will travel to the University of Utah in November to participate in the Finalist Interview for the Rhodes Scholarship, a prestigious honor given to few students in the country.

Pacheco, who is expected to graduate in May 2016, is a combined BA/MD student majoring in biochemistry and health, medicine and human values with a minor in Honors Liberal Arts.

She has proven her leadership ability and commitment to her education by involving herself with the UNM community.

Pacheco is currently a resident advisor, senior class ambassador to the BA/MD organization, Iota Class National Residence Hall honorary participant, co-founder/member of the Autism Society UNM, team captain of various intramural sports teams and a volunteer at Joy Junction Homeless Shelter.

Additionally, she has received academic honors such as the National Merit Scholar, Student Vice President of the UNM Chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, President of Phi Kappa Phi students, Elks Most-Valuable Student Award, and Woodmen of the World American History Award, to name a few.

She has earned her research experience by participating in the BA/MD Summer Practicum in Las Cruces, NM and the biochemistry research at the UNM Health Sciences Center.

Pacheco expressed her gratitude and appreciation for UNM saying “I am grateful to attend an institution that has afforded me opportunities such as this. The professors, advisors, academic programs, and research opportunities available at UNM have provided me with the support and experience necessary to pursue this scholarship.”

Each year, 32 students are chosen for the Rhodes scholarship based on their commitment to their community, their academic achievements and their leadership abilities. To qualify for the Rhodes scholarship, students must be a U.S. citizen, be 18 years or older but not yet 24 at the time of application and have a bachelor’s degree from UNM or another qualifying university.

Those who receive the award get the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford for two years, with the award covering tuition, laboratory and matriculation costs.

If she receives the award, Pacheco plans on studying medical anthropology and comparative social policy at the University of Oxford. She is interested in improving mental illness awareness and treatment in health care policy.