Rhodes Scholar Jacob Taylor bound for Oxford


Jacob Taylor, the vice-captain of the Australian Rugby Union Sevens squad, is the winner of the NSW Rhodes scholarship for 2013.

Already a fluent Chinese speaker, Jacob is well ahead in the Asian Century. Prior to completing his BA Languages honours degree at the University of Sydney in 2010, he studied at Peking and Liaoning universities in China.

He will take up his scholarship at University of Oxford next year to study for a Master's in Neuroanthropology in the Centre for Anthropology and Mind.

In keeping with his long-standing engagement with Australia and China, Jacob aims for his innovative fusion of interests to assist in the forging of a healthy economic and political dialogue between the two countries.

His field of study - the emerging area of neuroanthropology - is the way the human brain and body interact within its physical, social and cultural environments.

"My focus is on sport in China and the way culture affects the way we use our bodies. The motivation is find out how we can better interact across cultures and how environment shapes the way we think and act," he said.

This follows on from his honours thesis, entitled, 'Why do Chinese rugby players exhibit a different "feel" for the game than their Australian/Fijian/Kenyan counterparts?'

Jacob co-authored the Australia-China Youth Dialogue's submission to the recently released white paper on "Australia in the Asian Century" and he is also the co-founder of the Engaging China Project, a youth-driven, not-for-profit project aiming to ignite interest in China among high school students.

Each year, nine Rhodes scholarships are awarded in Australia to enable outstanding students - chosen on the basis of exceptional intellect, character and leadership.

From the shortlist of this year's NSW Rhodes Scholarship, another graduate from the University of Sydney, Patrick Bateman, will go into the selection for the 'Australia at Large Rhodes Scholarship' (a category of the scholarship not contingent on the applicant's home state), which will be announced in Canberra later this year.

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