By Sharon Stevens
(KSDK) - A Washington University student says she is overwhelmed after being named one of two Rhodes Scholars at Washington University.
Leana Wen, 23, a medical student originally from Shanghai, China, and recent Wash U graduate Aaron Mertz, 22, have been awarded the prestigious academic fellowship.
Years ago, Wen faced her own medical crisis which played a small part in her chosen career.
Wen says her first encounter with a hospital was when she was a small child. She suffered from severe asthma.
"I had a number of experimental surgeries including part of my lung, actually removed in China,” says Wen.
Today, she's healthy enough to run marathons. Wen's family immigrated to Los Angeles when she was eight and she graduated from college when she was just 18 years old.
Now, Wen is one of 80 international students accepted into the 2007 class at Oxford University in England.
Wen will study for a master's degree in Global Health Science. The fourth-year medical student has served as the national president of the American Medical Student Association.
Wen and Mertz begin their two year, all-expense-paid study next year.
Eight Washington University students have been named Rhodes Scholars in the past eight years. The scholarships were created by British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes more than 100 years ago.
The qualifications needed are academic achievement, personal integrity and leadership skills. Winners must also be physically fit.