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Prince George H.S. graduate earns prestigious Rhodes Scholarship

PRINCE GEORGE, Va. (WRIC) -- Prince George High School graduate Leah Crowder has been named a 2019 Rhodes Scholar. 

Crowder, a 2018 University of Arizona Honors College graduate, is one of only 32 students to receive the prestigious honor this year. While earning her B.A. in Middle Eastern and North African studies, she earned a perfect 4.0 GPA, and she is now pursuing an M.A. in the same program.

She will continue her studies at Oxford University in England in October, pursuing a Ph.D. in International Relations. She is researching how to end cyclical violence and move toward peace in areas divided by deep cultural and political differences. 

Crowder began her work as a teenager, studying circus arts in Turkey. The goal is to help "at-risk" youth develop social skills, by putting them all on level footing. 

"You don't really think about the circus when talking about international conflict or development, but what Arts Anywhere Association does is amazing," Crowder said. "And a big part of that is because it came from the community. The work in Turkey taught me that there are many different paths to contribute to the community.”

While in high school, she also studied languages at Richmond's Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies, studied in Kazan, Russia, and finished her senior year in Aydin, Turkey. 

Last summer, she returned to Turkey for a third time, continuing to work with the Arts Anywhere Association to help young people and their families with circus arts. She even learned to juggle and use a trapeze.

Her UA Honors College advisor, David Neufeld is the person who convinced her to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship.  

"Her ability to connect makes her an effective cross-cultural mediator to bring people together around common purposes," Neufeld said.

Crowder was selected from more than 2,500 finalists. 

"Leah has proven to be an exceptional student during her time at the University of Arizona," said UA Provost Jeff Goldberg. "I have no doubt her passion for education combined with her desire to solve global problems will make a difference in the lives of people around the world."

To read more about Crowder's achievements and goals, click here

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