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Saturday, April 13, 2024

18-year-old girl wins full scholarship to US university, set to become an Astronaut

An 18-year-old girl named Rhian Purves has won a full scholarship to the College of Charleston in the United States.

Rhian is a student-athlete from Kenton who won an unconditional full scholarship to study at the College of Charleston, South Carolina in the United States where she was invited to join the institution’s ‘Cougars athletics team.

She is a runner with the Gosforth Harriers who has represented the North East in the English Schools track and field competitions. She has also been crowned the North East county champion for 1,500 and 3,000-metre competitions.

Rhian also won podium positions in the Junior Great North Run seven years in a row. She mentioned that while discussing university options with her family, she wondered if it might be possible to study in the United States.


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She stated that she made contact with a company called Sporting Elite USA, which puts students from the United Kingdom in touch with American colleges that offer sporting scholarships that might suit them.

Rhian said plenty of different universities reached out to her, but it was the College of Charleston that most appealed. “I really liked the look of Charleston, the campus was really nice and I liked the team spirit in the running team,” she said.

She mentioned that it was not just her sporting talent that secured her place at the college. She is in her top grades in her four A Levels (chemistry, physics, maths, and further maths) and also got an A in her biology AS level, while also studying for a GCSE in astronomy at Northumbria University in her spare time.


“It was studying astronomy that made me realise I could go into the astrophysics side of science,” Rhian said. “I would quite like to be an astronaut after I graduate,” she added.

Rhian stated that her training takes place six times a week adding that she takes Tuesday evenings off running for maths study. She stated that she does not mind all the training time as she has been a keen runner since the age of 8.

“I find it quite relaxing, taking a break from school work and getting out there for a run. It clears my head,” she said. Rhian said she is excited to get stuck into life in the United States and is looking forward to getting to know her new coach and teammates better.

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