The University of Iowa

UI Senior One of 32 Nationwide Named Rhodes Scholar

November 22nd, 2010

Renugan Raidoo spent summer 2010 in Mainz, Germany, on an internship arranged by the German Academic Exchange Service, called RISE (Research Internships in Science & Engineering). The program pairs an undergraduate student with a German Ph.D. student to assist in doctoral research.

See Raidoo’s blog from his time abroad:

The following announcement is from University News Services.

Renugan Raidoo, 20, a University of Iowa senior known as both a budding scientist and an altruistic activist, was among 32 people announced Sunday as 2011 Rhodes Scholars. The last time a UI student received this distinction was in 1993.

Raidoo, of Sioux Falls, S.D., who emigrated with his family from South Africa, is majoring in chemistry and anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is a Presidential Scholar at Iowa and a Goldwater Scholar and has presented research in Germany, California and Iowa. He has also worked as a staff member at the UI Honors Program for several years.

The 2011 Rhodes Scholars will enter Oxford University in England in October for two or three years of all-expense-paid study. Raidoo will seek a master of philosophy degree in social anthropology.

At the UI, Raidoo is a leader in the university’s Global Health Club, a member of Amnesty International, and he also directs Intersection, an acapella group on campus.

As a budding scientist, Raidoo was UI’s Chemistry Student of the Year as both a sophomore and junior, was nationally recognized as a Goldwater Scholar, and internationally seasoned with a summer of nano-research in Germany.  As a potential physician, he is a mainstay of the university’s Global Health Club, a student group that raises awareness on campus of global health concerns and money to provide aid to organizations, and a long-time tutor for Iowa Biosciences Advantage.

As an activist, his efforts enabled Bplans for Humanity — a group that faciliates social entrepreuneurship project development — help nonprofits with their science writing. Starting from scratch, he and a classmate created a lasting community for the top merit scholars on Iowa’s campus. Raidoo and classmates also staged a student art contest to gain attention for the needs of a flooded arts campus. That culminated in “Art and Altruism,” a show in Iowa’s Old Capitol Museum, with proceeds from a silent auction going to a local shelter and helping with flood damage.

“Renugan Raidoo has earned the deepest admiration of his faculty and friends throughout the University of Iowa,” wrote John Nelson, Honors Program director in his nomination letter. “It is not too strong to say that we have come to love him:  as a scholar and doctor in the making, as an activist, as a person.

“Raidoo is cheerful but low-key in most situations, so he sometimes takes a while to grow on people. Whether swiftly or slowly, though, what we eventually discern in Raidoo is a kind fellow of lively intelligence, vast curiosity, and significant creativity.  He would make a marvelous Rhodes Scholar, because he would excel at Oxford then leap exceptionally high from that platform.”

Raidoo said he was very surprised but extremely gratified to be chosen for this honor -– especially since the last time the UI had a Rhodes Scholar was in 1993. He added the scholarship will enable him to enrich his knowledge in important ways for his future career.

“Medical aid in the developing world is often informed only by a knowledge of science,” Raidoo said. “Because it deals, ultimately, with people, I think it’s also important to have an anthropological sensibility about how people relate to medical technologies and humanitarian aid — especially in the developing world context, where people have had very different histories and life experiences, knowledge of anthropology and being able to straddle the rift between science and anthropology is particularly important.”

After getting his degree at Oxford, Raidoo plans to get both an M.D. and Ph.D. in chemistry, with the ultimate goal being to help those in third world countries deal with complex medical issues.

Andrea Beloy, UI Honors Program scholarship director, Nelson and faculty from throughout the university prepared Raidoo for the competition.

Since its founding in 1958 by one of Iowa’s own Rhodes Scholars, the UI Honors Program has been the nominator of this university’s Rhodes candidates — and the source of its winners.

Twenty UI students have been named Rhodes Scholars since 1905. To view a complete list on the UI Honors Program website, visit