For a public university to have one finalist during a school year is a pretty major accomplishment.

But to get two in the same academic year? That's pretty monumental. That is what we celebrate today, courtesy of the information provided by our friends at UM News Service.

The service reports that two University of Montana seniors recently interviewed for the world’s oldest and most prestigious academic recognition, the Rhodes Scholarship. As Rhodes finalists, Teigan Avery and Arwen Baxter joined an elite group of U.S. college students recognized for their scholarly achievements, commitment to the common good and potential for leadership.

These two women were selected as finalists because they have spent their college careers highly engaged in their academic and personal interests and in their communities. While neither started college intending to be Rhodes finalists, Kylla Benes, the director of external scholarships and fellowships at UM, points out that "their dedication and achievements demonstrate the outstanding personalized education UM offers – an education that students can leverage for major awards like the Rhodes.”

Teigan Avery doubled-majored in economics and political science at UM and is now working toward a master’s degree in economics. She is a native of Kalispell, and one day wants be a professor of economics at UM, calling it her “dream job.”

Oh, and if you need a student-athlete component thrown in, Teigan is a scratch golfer who served as the Griz golf team captain and was the 2017 Montana State Women’s Amateur Champion.

Arwen Baxter, who comes from Pocatello, Idaho, is finishing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater and a Bachelor of Arts in English literature. In a matter-of-fact, what-the-heck manner, she says she couldn’t choose between the two, so she is studying both.

Arwen's creative works include poetry and original compositions. She also sings and has acted in plays produced by UM’s Theater Department.

Both women are members of UM’s Davidson Honors College. We wish them all the best in their pursuit of this amazing academic honor and deeply appreciate how they are representing the University of Montana!

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