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Road to Rhodes: Extraordinary student a true inspiration


Mount Allison University student Tess Casher will attend one of the most well-known universities in the world next fall -- and she can't wait to get there.

Casher has been awarded a Rhodes scholarship from the University of Oxford in England.

She's one of just 11 Canadian students to receive the honour for 2023 and the 56th in Mount Allison's 183-year history.

The Rhodes scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards in all of academia, and is worth over $100,000.

The fourth-year honours English student said the whole thing is surreal to her.

"When the moment of disbelief dissipates, it just becomes an overwhelming sense of excitement and gratitude, but it hasn't sunk in yet and I don't think it will sink in for a couple of months," said Casher.

Casher has stuttered all her life, but it hasn't hindered her remarkable academic career.

The 23-year-old from Whitehorse, Yukon, has won the Bell Scholarship, the Ebutt Trust Scholarship and the McKiel Scholarship, the highest level of academic achievement in English.

She's also written a book for middle school students that creates a representation of the stuttering experience.

“Impedi(me)ents on Ice” will be published in the spring and will aid in clinical training at the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research.

"No one ever told me the words, 'Tess, you can't do something because you have a stutter,'" she said.

University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Jean-Paul Boudreau called Casher an extraordinary person and an incredible talent.

"It [stuttering] doesn't stand in her way at all, in fact, she's such an inspiration. When I first met Tess as part of the process, I was so inspired by her commitment and ability to communicate complicated ideas about academics and the world and how she wants to make a difference," said Boudreau.

Finding a layer of joy and passion in whatever it is that youth love or gets them excited in the morning is Casher's advice to students.

"There are people and communities and a wonderful world out there who are ready to support you in all that you are and all that you can do," she said. "You've got this, one-thousand per cent."

Casher leaves for Oxford next summer and will study Victorian-era literature. Top Stories

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