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Matthew Downer announced as Newfoundland and Labrador’s next Rhodes Scholar

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Hiscock
Matthew Downer of St. John’s has been nominated 2018 Rhodes Scholar Elect from Newfoundland and Labrador.
Matthew Downer of St. John’s has been nominated 2018 Rhodes Scholar Elect from Newfoundland and Labrador. - Contributed photo by Nicholas Hiscock

Matthew Downer of St. John’s has been nominated 2018 Rhodes Scholar Elect from Newfoundland and Labrador.

The scholarship provides the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford, one of the top universities in the world. 

Downer completed an undergraduate degree in psychology, specializing in neuroscience at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) and is currently completing his MD at MUN's school of medicine.

At Oxford, he plans to complete a masters of science in evidence-based health care, followed by a masters of science in epidemiology. Downer plans to be a translational clinician-scientist in the field of rehabilitation medicine.

According to the release from the Rhodes Trust, Newfoundland and Labrador, Downer has won numerous awards including the MUN’s Award for Outstanding Self-Directed Learning, The Captain Robert A. Bartlett Convocation Award for Science, and the Facility of Science Dean’s list for four consecutive years. He has published five peer-reviewed papers in clinical rehabilitation, been a clinical research Intern at American University Human Neuropsychology Laboratory in Washington, D.C, and a clinical research assistant at MUN’s recovery and performance laboratory. Among his research awards are the Fulbright Canada Killam Fellow for MUN and the best research presentation Award from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. 

He has also undertaken work in the area opioid addiction, serves on the Canadian Federation of Medical Students National Opioid Task Force and he is also project lead and founder of the MUN Opioids Awareness and Support Team.

Downer has been a coach for the provincial Special Olympics floor hockey and golf team since 2013 and coach of the Easter Seals’ Newfoundland and Labrador wheelchair basketball team since 2014. 

The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award for study at Oxford in the United Kingdom and is widely considered the world’s most prestigious scholarship. Scholarship founder Cecil Rhodes stated that a scholar must exhibit proven intellectual and academic attainment of a high standard, integrity of character, sympathy for and protection of the weak, the ability to lead, and the energy to use his or her talent to the full.

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