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U Rhodes Scholar Diana Fu

Diana Xuan Fu

U student named 2006 Rhodes Scholar

November 22, 2005

Minnesota resident Diana Xuan Fu, an honors student in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, has been named a 2006 Rhodes Scholar. A Canadian citizen, Fu is one of 11 Canadians who have been named 2006 Rhodes Scholars.

Fu, who is majoring in global studies and political science, will graduate summa cum laude in May 2006.

The Rhodes Scholarship will enable Fu to study for two years at the University of Oxford, where she intends to earn a master of philosophy degree in development studies. She is the third University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, student to win a Rhodes Scholarship since 2000.

Fu was born in mainland China and immigrated to Winnipeg with her family when she was 8 years old. Her parents' employment eventually led the family to settle in the Twin Cities. Fu graduated from Eden Prairie High School and began her studies at the University of Minnesota in 2002.

"We congratulate Diana on her spectacular achievement and, of course, take immense pride that she is a student in the College of Liberal Arts," said Steven J. Rosenstone, the college's dean. "Diana's high academic achievement, integrity of character, and leadership ability distinguish her. She holds every promise of fulfilling, throughout her lifetime, the hope of the Rhodes Trust that its scholars will 'esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim.'"

While at the University, Fu has been a regular opinion columnist at the Minnesota Daily, and her column is known for generating lively discussion on campus and nationally, most recently for her observations about forms of discrimination that she observed during a 2004-05 study abroad experience in Beijing. Fu was awarded the Society of Professional Journalists' Mark of Excellence Award for best collegiate journalism in 2004, and several of her columns have been reprinted in other newspapers. Her essay "Free or Filtered Press" was reprinted in the 2005 edition of the textbook America Now. She has also published short fiction and poetry. An accomplished dancer, Fu performed in the international debut of Chinese choreographer Shen Pei's "Sun and Moon" at the Southern Theatre in 2004.

While studying abroad at Beijing University last year, Fu interned with two Chinese nonprofit organizations, the Center for Women's Law Studies and Legal Services and the Migrant Women's Home. For her summa thesis, she conducted field research on the challenges faced by the millions of rural women who have migrated to China's cities over the past decade.

Her thesis, "A Cage of Voices: Producing the Dagongmei in China," was awarded the Sidney Devere Brown Prize for best original research paper at the 2005 conference of Midwest Association of Asian Affairs and will be presented at the national Association for Asian Studies conference this spring.

In recommending Fu for the Rhodes Scholarship, her professors emphasized her academic excellence, multiple talents and enduring commitment to human rights. "I gave her some guidance on searching Chinese databases; the next thing I knew Diana had left both me and the librarian in the dust," says Daniel Kelliher, a faculty member in the department of political science, who collaborated with Fu on a research project on China's interpretation of Western ideas of sexual harassment. "Her performance was spectacular. I was amazed by her resourcefulness."

Raymond Duvall, also a political science faculty member, describes Fu as an exceptionally impressive young person. "She is an absolutely outstanding student. She is actively and passionately engaged in artistic expression and practical activities related to her academic interests," he said. "Diana has superior intellectual abilities, the energy and enthusiasm, and the focused sense of purpose to succeed in her plans to make an appreciable impact."

Charles Sugnet, a faculty member in the Department of English, describes the level of sophistication of Fu's summa thesis research as "astonishing" due to her meticulous fieldwork, the sensitivity with which she treats her subjects, her attention to verbal nuance and problems of translation, and her masterful application of theoretical approaches from several disciplines.

--From the University News Service