UVic scores hat trick with third Rhodes scholar
It was third time lucky for both Emily Poupart and
UVic when the Vikes rower and grad student was named one of Canada’s
2003 Rhodes Scholars—the third consecutive year a UVic student
has been awarded the honour.
Poupart, who is from Jonquière and lives in
Montreal when classes aren’t in session, was awarded the scholarship
“It’s still so surreal, I still
haven’t realized that I’m going to Oxford,” said
Poupart in a pre-Christmas phone interview. “The academic
environment there will be fantastic and, of course, there’s
The McGill political science grad first applied for
a Rhodes scholarship in 2000. “The McGill process is very
lengthy with interviews, lunches and cocktail parties and I was
disappointed when I didn’t win.” But she tried again
in 2001 and made it to the final round with the same results. This
year she thought, “I have nothing to lose” and learned
in early December she’d be heading to Oxford in the fall of
She plans to pursue a PhD program in developmental
studies after completing her master’s in dispute resolution
at UVic this summer.
“I’ve finished the course work and I’m
working on my thesis examining how language is used to affect change
in conflict situations.”
When it comes to language, Poupart speaks several—English,
French, Spanish—with some knowledge of Mandarin and Italian.
She’s studied in Beijing and Florence, trekked the Inca Trail
to Macchu Piccu in Peru, and spent a semester in Panama as a consultant
on the creation of a new watershed involving the resettlement of
8,000 people, examining the role played by World Bank and Inter
American Development Bank policies in the mass move.
“Emily is a very dynamic, extraordinarily
enthusiastic person. She just radiates positive energy,”says
Prof. Maureen Maloney, director of UVic’s institute for dispute
resolution, who wrote one of Poupart’s support letters.
Rhodes scholars are expected to be more than bright
students and active individuals. While at McGill Poupart volunteered
at its office for students with disabilities, an experience she
described as “absolutely amazing.” In Victoria, she
visits area schools as a member of the anti youth violence organization
Rock Solid, encouraging youngsters to get involved in sport and
benefit from the discipline it provides for young lives.
Sport has been a constant in Poupart’s life
for years. The former ski instructor and triathlete began rowing
while at McGill and chose UVic for graduate studies in part because
of the reputation of its rowing program. She won two gold and a
silver medal as a member of the Canadian team at the 2002 Commonwealth
Regatta in England and a gold medal as a member of the varsity eight
that claimed a sixth straight national university championship for
UVic last fall.
“I’ll miss UVic,” admits Poupart.
“The crew is amazing, such a fantastic group of women.”
Following graduation, she’ll set her sights on winning a place
on the Canadian team heading to the 2004 Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo.
Then Poupart’s next try-outs will be for the famous Oxford