Clinton Scholars Study in the Middle East

Yoohnee Ryder. Yoohnee RyderFrom a satellite, the nation of Fiji looks like two medium-sized islands, due east of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean. But looks can be deceiving.

There are actually 223 small islands (in geology-speak, an “archipelago”), and UAB Honors Program student Yoonhee Ryder recently spent six weeks getting to know one of them, named Vanua Levu, personally.

The Huntsville, Alabama, native was part of a group of students conducting an archaeological excavation in the area.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience,” Ryder says of the project. “I learned more in the six weeks than I ever have, including how to dig, do lab work, camp, cook over a campfire, take ‘ocean baths,’ and more.”

Her international interests also extend to the Middle East. She’s pursuing a double major in biology and anthropology, with minors in Middle Eastern studies and chemistry. She plans to spend time abroad doing humanitarian work, en route to her eventual goal of becoming a physician.

Ryder is one of 10 students chosen from the U.S. by the Clinton Presidential Foundation to “expand their educational and cultural horizons by studying in the Arab world.”