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date: october 23, 2002top storiesMorehead scholar wins 2003 Rhodes ScholarshipMorehead scholar wins 2003 Rhodes Scholarshipferris: carolina has a 'special responsibility and a place of honor'more storiesnews briefsfaculty/staff newsPhotoscalendartable of contents

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Morehead scholar Dubé wins 2003 Rhodes Scholarship


Karine Dubé, a Carolina senior, has won a 2003 Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England.

An international studies major with a minor in business administration, Dubé, of Lévis, Québec, will use the scholarship to earn a master's degree in developmental studies, specializing in African studies. She plans a career combating HIV/AIDS in developing countries, her goal since she volunteered for Operation Crossroads Africa in Tanzania in 2000, the summer after her freshman year.

"One particular experience shook up my life drastically, that of playing with African orphans infected with AIDS and watching them laugh despite their affliction," said Dubé, who is writing her honors thesis on the prevention of AIDS in East Africa.

Dubé intends eventually to lead an international organization or consult for relief agencies and, through either, to implement new, more effective strategies against the spread of HIV/AIDS. She also hopes to become a college professor.

In her Rhodes application, Dubé wrote that when she attended the 14th International AIDS Conference in Barcelona last July, "I noticed a shortage of anthropological and ethnological studies related to HIV/AIDS in resource-poor settings. I felt uncomfortable with the top-down approaches to prevention usually used by organizations in the field, because they sometimes overlook social and cultural factors that are essential influences in prevention programs."

At Oxford, she will study interactions among culture, development and HIV/AIDS in East Africa, seeking evidence that more effective change in behavior related to the spread of the disease will require better understanding of people's sociocultural references and resources.

Dubé graduated from Couvent de Lévis in 1997 and from Le Petit Seminaire de Québec, a bilingual international baccalaureate program, in 1999. She earned her black belt in karate at age 11.

Dubé brings to 36 the number of Rhodes Scholars from Carolina since the program began in 1902. Two Carolina students won the honor in 1987; 14 have become Rhodes Scholars since 1980.

"Karine's outstanding achievements in academics, service and leadership make her an excellent choice for this rare honor," said Chancellor James Moeser. "I am certain she will use her Oxford degree in ways that contribute to society and honor her alma mater."

The award pays all tuition, fees and living expenses for two years at Oxford, plus most travel expenses to and from the university. The scholarship will cover a third year at Oxford if it is needed for a student's area of study.

Eleven Canadian and 32 U.S. students were chosen Dec. 7 for the prestigious scholarships, created in the will of English statesman Cecil Rhodes. Dubé participated in selection interviews for the province of Québec, held Dec. 6-7 in Montreal. The committee chose two winners from 14 nominees in the province who were invited to interview.

Each October, Oxford welcomes about 88 new scholars from 19 countries. Rhodes set standards for these scholarships to his alma mater, including literary and scholastic achievement; physical vigor; truth, courage, devotion to duty, protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship; moral force of character and instincts to lead. Rhodes implied that he expected scholars to contribute to the betterment of society.

Dubé came to Carolina in 1999 on a Morehead Award, a full four-year scholarship modeled on the Rhodes. The awards -- to 60 to 70 Carolina freshmen annually for excellence in academics, leadership and character and physical vigor -- include funding for four summer enrichment experiences.

"Karine is a tribute to the University and the Morehead Foundation," said English Professor George Lensing, interim director of distinguished scholarships and coordinator of Carolina's Rhodes nominees. "The summers she was able to spend in Africa and Barcelona opened a new world for her. She is a recognized leader, particularly in service projects, on campus."

Dubé credited Lensing and Charles Lovelace, the Morehead Foundation's executive director, for skill in readying her for Rhodes competition: "I cannot be thankful enough that UNC prepared me so well in the mock interviews." Lensing lauded faculty on the Carolina Rhodes candidate selection committee, chaired by Associate Professor of Law Andrew Chin, for its Rhodes-like interviews to choose Carolina nominees, and other faculty who assisted in practice interviews.

Dubé has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.9, has made the dean's list every semester and been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's highest honor society.

Last spring she won the Jane Craig Gray Memorial Award for the junior woman judged most outstanding in leadership, character, scholarship and service, as well as a $900 grant from the Carolina honors program that allowed her to study cultural factors in HIV/AIDS prevention in East Africa.

She was inducted into the University's three highest honorary societies: the Order of the Golden Fleece, recognizing 20 to 30 upperclassmen for outstanding contributions to the University; the Order of the Old Well, recognizing five to 10 students for exemplary public service; and the Order of the Grail-Valkyries, recognizing students for outstanding achievements in scholarship, public service, leadership and character.

Last year Dubé won a Ford Motor Co. Golden Key Undergraduate Scholarship for a junior judged most outstanding in character, leadership, service and scholarship. She won the same award for sophomores, the UNC Annual Merit Award, in September 2000.

Dubé is president of the Assisting People in Planning Learning Experiences in Services (APPLES) service-learning program and the UNC-Chapel Hill United Nations Organization. She is treasurer and senior marshal for the class of 2003.

Dubé has led an alternative spring break in which Carolina students helped build housing for low-income families through Habitat for Humanity, helped operate the Great Decisions Lecture Series and served as an orientation counselor for international students.

Aiming to portray the effects of HIV/AIDS on Africans for Carolina students, Dubé presented a photography exhibit of her work in Tanzania in the student union in November 2000. She founded and chairs a University UNICEF Campus Group, which raises awareness of developing countries and money for UNICEF.

"I know, wholeheartedly, that I want to join the worldwide effort in combating HIV and AIDS," she wrote in her Rhodes essay. "I can best serve the needs of these victims by making myself into a true humanist, a continuing student of the wider humanities and social sciences as well as a researcher and field scientist."


Stuck on the road, Dubé barely makes her
interview in time to win

Karine Dubé is one Rhodes Scholar who almost did not get off the road in time to win the honor.

Scheduled to fly early Dec. 5 to her native Canada for Rhodes selection interviews, she awakened to a world covered with ice, crippled by downed trees and massive power outages.

Somehow, an airport shuttle managed to pick her up in Chapel Hill. But the trip to Raleigh-Durham International Airport was none too smooth.

"It was like an obstacle course," Dubé said late Dec. 7 by phone from Montreal, where she had just been notified of her selection as a 2003 Rhodes Scholar to England's Oxford University.

She made it to the airport but had missed her intended flight. Her immediate concern: a reception that evening in Montreal with 14 other Rhodes finalists in the province of Québec and members of the selection committee for the province.

"It's a crucial part of the evaluation process," said English Professor George Lensing, interim director of distinguished scholarships and coordinator of Carolina's Rhodes nominees.

In a stressful day at RDU, "I rescheduled my itinerary three times," Dubé said. At last, she made it onto a flight to Toronto, with a connecting flight to Montreal. She reached Montreal in the wee hours of Friday morning, having missed the reception but still scheduled for her individual interview with the selection committee at 4:30 p.m. that afternoon.

Possibly, the apparent disadvantage was something of a leg up. She hadn't been able to meet the other candidates and learn about the excellent qualifications of her competition. When the time came for her interview, she said, "I was surprisingly calm. When you're tired, it's almost better, because you don't realize the significance of what you're about to do."

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