Local woman named Rhodes scholar

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A North Allegheny High School graduate and senior at Yale University is one of 32 American students named today as Rhodes Scholars. As Rhodes scholar, Dakota E. McCoy will be awarded a scholarship to study and conduct research in zoology at Oxford University.

Ms. McCoy is majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology and is a member of Yale's Bulldogs track and field team, competing in javelin and hurdle events. She volunteers for Special Olympics and sings alto a capella with two Yale's groups.

According to a biography contained in a news release from the Rhodes Trust, Ms. McCoy - who goes by Cody - is a Goldwater Scholar, a member of Phi Bet Kappa, and a winner of the Frances Gordon Brown prize for intellectual distinction, leadership and service. She has several peer-reviewed publications and has done research projects in ecology, primate cognition and

Ms. McCoy was graduated in 2009 from North Allegheny and had attended Bradford Woods Elementary.

Rhodes scholars are given financial awards that cover all expenses for up to four years of study at Oxford University in England. The winners were selected Saturday from 838 applicants endorsed by 302 colleges and universities. The scholars will enter Oxford in October 2013.

Ms. McCoy said she couldn't have achieved the prestigious recognition had it not been for her mentors. She gave a special tip of the hat to North Allegheny teachers Jason Mohr, Antonio Caruso, Jill Spak, Adam Smith and Sharon Volpe.

She also mentioned NA track coaches John Neff, Liz Bollens, and Mike Hambrick as well as club track coach Alonzo Webb of the University of Pittsburgh, who she said "made me much better at track and taught me how to be mentally tough."

"I never could have done it otherwise," she said, also acknowledging the support and guidance of professors and mentors at Yale, including Leo Buss, Laurie Santos, Chris Norris, David Shoehalter and Geoff Shaw.

Rhodes scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes and have a value of about $50,000 per year.

Winners are selected for high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among other attributes, according to the Rhodes Trust. About 80 scholars are picked annually.

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Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com or at 724-772-9180.


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