UNSW student Alice Lang laughs when she admits she wants to "change the world". Her chances of doing just that have been boosted with the announcement that she's won a Rhodes Scholarship.

The 22-year-old, who is enrolled in UNSW's Bachelor of Engineering (Photovoltaics and Solar Energy) and Bachelor of Arts, will head to Oxford University mid-way through 2011.

Ultimately, she wants to improve energy policy design to make our consumption more effective and more environmentally friendly.

She is deciding whether she will enroll in the Bachelor of Arts (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) or a Master of Economics at Oxford.

She is one of only eight Australians to win the Rhodes Scholarships, which are awarded to students from the Commonwealth, the US and a few other countries.

"It was a huge shock," says Alice. "I was excited even to be shortlisted in NSW. So this was a surprise and really thrilling."

A Co-op scholar at UNSW, Alice has completed internships at SunTech in China, SCG Solar in Botany and BP Solar in North Ryde. She has also participated in an exchange with the National Institute of Applied Science in France.

"The Co-op program gives you a sense of why what you are studying is important," she says. "It made it easier to visualize what you are learning. Some of the work projects are like open-ended assignments."

True to the Rhodes' philosophy, Alice is an all-rounder who is motivated to pursue the "the performance of public duties as their highest aim".

She is currently undertaking a summer internship working with The Aurora Project, which is developing various programs to support Indigenous students, to help them get to university and to excel while there, and beyond.

Trained in classical ballet from the age of four, Alice now competes in rogaining (long distance cross-country navigation) and water polo at the elite level. She enjoys long-distance bike riding and is Chair of a fundraising committee for the Cancer Council and a certified ReVive volunteer at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Office of Media and Communication, 0422 934 024