UW-Madison senior selected as Rhodes Scholarship finalist

Alex Plum

MADISON, Wis. — Alex Plum, a University of Wisconsin-Madison senior, was among the finalists for the prestigious 2021 Rhodes Scholarship.

The scholarship, which is one of the most celebrated college awards for postgraduate international study, was awarded to 32 Americans chosen on Saturday. Plum was one of dozens of other accomplished students to make it to the final stage of the competition.

Those who win the award are provided with all expenses for several years of study at the University of Oxford in England. Candidates are judged on their record of intellectual and academic achievement, as well as other factors like integrity, respect for others and leadership ability.

“The Rhodes Scholarship is the very pinnacle of undergraduate achievement, and to be among the finalists is a huge honor,” says Provost Karl Scholz. “During his time with us, Alex has been a scholar of extraordinary ability and a leader inside and outside the classroom. He is poised to become an intellectual leader who makes a broad impact on the world.”

Plum, of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, is earning a double major in mathematics and engineering physics, with honors in the liberal arts and certificates in physics and computer science. He has received many other top awards from the university, such as a Sophomore Research Fellowship and a Hilldale Research Fellowship.

Outside of his coursework, Plum also volunteers with a Science Outreach Program, is a tutor for the Undergraduate Learning Center and sits as president of the Socratic Society.

“It’s always gratifying to see someone like Alex embrace so many of the great opportunities available to UW-Madison students both on and off campus – what we call the Wisconsin Experience,” says Julie Stubbs, director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Awards, who assisted Alex through the application process. “Through research and volunteering Alex has developed the relentless curiosity and purposeful action we hope for all Badgers, as well as the commitment to use his knowledge and skills to address persistent societal problems.”

Plum will graduate from UW-Madison this upcoming spring.