New Rhodes scholar wants to research disease and epidemics

Mark
Mark Vaughan-Jackson
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Anthony Payne hopes to someday make a contribution to alleviating the spread of disease and health problems.

Anthony Payne has been chosen as Newfoundland and Labrador’s newest Rhodes scholar. — Submitted photo

As Newfoundland and Labrador’s newest Rhodes scholar, the 22-year-old from Pasadena now has an excellent academic opportunity that could help him achieve that goal.

Payne found out las week he was chosen from the four people short-listed to be this year’s provincial Rhodes scholar. He is among 11 students from across Canada chosen to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom next year.

Payne finished a music degree at Memorial University in St. John’s last spring and will graduate from there with a degree in statistics this coming spring. At Oxford, he plans to study statistics as it applies to population health.

“Essentially, it’s a research kind of degree looking at global health issues,” he explained in a recent interview Monday.

“There will be a lot of statistics involved and I will be looking at associations,patterns and distribution of different diseases and health issues around the globe.”

His first year at Oxford, which will commence in October 2014, will involve Payne studying for his master’s degree in global health. The potential of pursuing a doctorate in population health will then present itself in the following years.

After that, Payne hopes to continue working in thestatistical analysis of health issues on a global level.

“Ideally, I would like to stay in this sort of research field and be involved in researching disease and epidemics, understanding these things in a way to help prevent them,” he said.

“I’m involved in the statistics side of things and would like to be able to apply that to something that really will make a difference in the world some day.”

Payne was informed that he had been chosen as Newfoundland and Labrador’s Rhodes scholar after completing an in-depth online application, submitted along with a personal statement from him, sixdetailed reference letters and a copy of his university transcripts.

The selection committee narrowed down those applications to four. The short-listed students then had dinner with the selection committee last Thursday before being interviewed one-on-one last Friday morning, just hours before the selection was made.

Payne said the interview process involved a discussion of a broad range of topics that included ethical questions and social issues pertaining to his home province and the world in general.

“I thought it went fine, but you never know with these things,” he said. “You just go and be yourself and that’s about all you can do.”

They also talked about his thoughts on going to Oxford and his plans for afterwards.

Besides the prestige of going to the renowned university and studying under its top-notch programs, Payne is looking forward to the cultural diversity of the experience that awaits him.

The Western Star

Organizations: University of Oxford

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Oxford, Pasadena Canada United Kingdom Western Star

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