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Former Drexel High School Scholar Selected as 2022 Rhodes Scholar

December 16, 2021

We are pleased to share that Michael Cheng, who participated in Drexel’s High School Scholars program from 2014 to 2017, has been named among the 100 Scholars in the 2022 class of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. UREP and the entire Drexel community congratulate Michael on this amazing accomplishment, and we wish him the best as he undertakes his Rhodes-funded graduate studies at the University of Oxford!

The High School Scholars program is a highly selective program that allows high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to register for college courses at Drexel’s University City Campus at no cost. Originally an initiative of the Office of Undergraduate Research in the Pennoni Honors College, HSS in now managed by Drexel’s Center for Inclusive Education and Scholarship. The program allows promising young students like Michael to challenge themselves and explore their interests before embarking on their college career at Drexel or elsewhere.

During his time as a High School Scholar, Michael completed ten Drexel courses, including several advanced topics courses in environmental science, business, and Honors seminars. He also presented his research on Global Climate Treaties alongside other Drexel undergraduates at the 2018 Annual Student Conference on Global Challenges.

Emily Kashka-Ginsburg, who managed HSS during Michael’s time in the program, describes him has “one of the true stand-out students, who pushed the entire program forward. He was a motivated, intellectually curious student who took the fullest advantage of the program and the resources available to him at Drexel. He was also exceptionally polite, always ending his email with well wishes and thanks—something that always endeared him to us, especially in the middle of course registration season!”

After completing his high school studies and Drexel courses, Michael continued on to undergraduate study at Harvard College, where this spring he will earn bachelors’ degrees in History and Mathematics and a master’s degree in Computer Science. From an immigrant household, he struggled with English and received special language training till he was 16, yet still managed to begin his studies at Drexel as a high school freshman. Michael’s career interests are in energy technology and policy. He has researched perovskite solar panels in Taiwan, urban development policy in Argentina, and the history of energy transitions worldwide. He taught himself to swim by watching YouTube videos before walking on to the Harvard varsity men’s lightweight crew team. He was elected as a junior to Phi Beta Kappa. During his Rhodes Scholarship, he plans to pursue a DPhil in Engineering Science.

Michael asked that we share his appreciation for all of his professors and community at Drexel, especially Professor Brad Sodowick, who has served as a mentor to him for many years, and Professor Jeffrey Knowles, who taught one of Michael’s favorite classes at Drexel, 21st Century Water Policy.

About the Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards supporting outstanding all-round students at the University of Oxford, and providing transformative opportunities for exceptional individuals. Established in 1903 under the will of Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes is the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious international graduate scholarship program in the world. A class of 83 Scholars is selected each year.

This scholarship provides one to three years of study leading to a degree at Oxford University, England. Seniors, graduate or professional students, and graduates of any citizenship are eligible to apply. More information on applying to the Rhodes Scholarship at Drexel can be found in our fellowships database.