Rhodes Finalists

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USC football LB Augusto Alonso and men's track distance runner Greg Woodburn were named finalists for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

Augusto-Alonso.pngAlonso, who applied out of his home state Nebraska, is one of 12 candidates in the Midwest region, while Woodburn will compete against 11 others in California.  The 25-minute interviews will be conducted next week in front of a panel made up of former Rhodes' winners and/or top business professionals.

Both student-athletes reached this stage behind tremendous academic achievements and diverse resumes. 

Alonso (3.93 GPA majoring in biomedical engineering) scored a perfect 36 on his high school ACT, walked on to the USC football team and supports "Engineering Without Borders," which is working on providing clean water to Honduras.  Woodburn (3.94 GPA majoring in history) runs his own non-profit organization, Give Running, which donates shoes to children in third-world countries and the inner city.

"It would be a great representation of this football team, my hometown, USC and my family," said Alonso, who would study at Oxford's new institute of biomedical engineering.  "More so than anything, it is exactly what I want to do with my graduate education."

Thumbnail image for greg_woodburn.jpg"My experiences as a USC student-athlete and with Give Running have kindled an interest in researching the role sports can play in development, specifically in terms of community-building and in foster opportunities for youth," said Woodburn, who would use his scholarship to get a two-year master's in development studies.

USC athletics boasts four Rhodes Scholars, including athletic director Pat Haden, who had some words of wisdom for both candidates.

"His main advice was to enjoy the process and, whether or not I am selected to receive a Rhodes Scholarship, take the time to think about what my passions are and the vision I have for the future that I want to work toward," Woodburn said.

Through athletics, Alonso and Woodburn are better prepared than most for a pressure packed interview setting. 

"Last week for Colorado, when I realized I might play, I was pretty nervous.  A lot more nervous than I've been in a while," Alonso compared a big game to his big upcoming interview Colorado Springs, CO.  "I'm going back to Colorado in a week for a whole different ball game, but it's all about preparation just like football."

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