Kentucky man selected as Rhodes scholar

November 18, 2012 

LOUISVILLE — A Louisville man studying at Harvard University has been selected as a 2013 Rhodes scholar, one of the world's most prestigous scholarships.

Allan Hsiao (SHAOW) is a senior majoring in economics and east Asian studies. In an interview, Hsiao said he hopes eventually to teach economics with a focus on migration. He has done field work in China on rural-to-urban migration.

He also is interested in development and health and "figuring out why some countries are poorer than others."

The elite scholarship covers expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. The value of the scholarships averages about $50,000 a year.

About 80 college graduates receive the scholarship each year, including 32 from America in the coming academic year.

The most recent Kentuckian to win the award was Victor Yang of Lexington in 2011. Yang, a 2008 graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, was a Harvard senior at the time of his selection.

Hsiao plans to pursue modern Chinese studies at Oxford, with a focus on urbanization and migration.

Hsiao also directed Harvard's Identities 2012 fashion show, which he said uses models from a variety of backgrounds to showcase the campus' diversity.

Besides speaking English and Chinese, Hsiao is fluent in Arabic, Korean and French, and can read several other languages.

His family is originally from Taiwan, and Hsiao said they would travel there every two or three years when he was growing up. It was there he learned Chinese calligraphy from his grandfather, which he still pursues as a hobby.

"I'm not a master. It's not something I do for hours and hours," he said. But he does practice it from time to time because he finds it "very meditative and soothing."

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