The announcement of the 2024 US Rhodes Scholars took place over the weekend, revealing a diverse group of 32 students set to embark on their studies at the University of Oxford next October. Harvard University stands out, boasting nine of its graduates among the recipients, with an additional Harvard student securing an International Rhodes prize.
This year’s US Rhodes Scholars were selected from a pool of over 2,500 students who initiated the application process, gaining endorsements from 249 different colleges and universities. The Rhodes Scholarship, established in 1903 through the final will of Cecil John Rhodes, is widely regarded as the most prestigious international scholarship for American college graduates.
Traditionally announced shortly before Thanksgiving, the Rhodes Trust employs a two-stage selection process. Candidates submit comprehensive application packets, including endorsements from their respective institutions. Following this, selection committees in 16 U.S. districts conduct interviews to finalize the choices. Unlike the past three years, this year’s selection process marked a return to in-person interviews.
The criteria for selection emphasize academic excellence, the proactive use of one’s talents, and the embodiment of qualities such as truth, courage, kindness, and devotion to duty. Notably, the scholarship, originally restricted to “male students” according to Rhodes’ will, only opened its doors to women in 1976. To date, 663 American women have been honored as Rhodes Scholars.
The 2024 class showcases Harvard University’s dominance, with nine scholars, followed by two each from Yale University, Dartmouth College, and the U.S. Military Academy. Notably, Agnes Scott College, a women’s liberal arts school in Georgia, produced a scholar for the first time since 1981.
This diverse cohort of scholars brings a rich tapestry of backgrounds and interests, including rock climbers, marathon runners, ballet dancers, stand-up comedians, and more. Their pursuits at Oxford cover a broad spectrum of fields. For instance, Mira-Rose Kingsbury Lee from Harvard will delve into interdisciplinary bioscience, while Zachary Lang from Dartmouth will pursue philosophy.
The 2024 US Rhodes Scholars plan to study a broad range of fields at Oxford. For example:
- Mira-Rose Kingsbury Lee, from Harvard University, will pursue a master’s or D.Phil. in interdisciplinary bioscience.
- Zachary Lang, a summa cum laude graduate from Dartmouth College, will pursue a bachelor’s in philosophy at Oxford.
- Mrinalini S. Wadhwa, a senior at Columbia University where she majors in history and mathematics, will study for an M.Phil. in modern European history.
- Abigail Ward is a senior at the United States Naval Academy studying for a B.S. in computer science. At Oxford, she will pursue an M.Sc. in social science of the internet and a master’s in public policy.
- Mariah L. Cady is a senior at the University of Georgia where she majors in international affairs and Russian, with minors in geography, German and teaching second languages. She speaks eight languages including Russian, German, Serbo-Croatian and Lakota. At Oxford, she will pursue an M.St. in linguistics, philology and phonetics and an M.Sc. in forced migration studies.
- Tatyana Nieves Brown graduated from New York University Abu Dhabi in 2022 with a B.A. in social research and public policy. She is now a Henry Luce Scholar in Taiwan working with the 2023 Taipei Biennial at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. At Oxford, she plans to complete an M.Sc. in comparative social policy and an M.Sc. in visual, material and museum anthropology.
- Suhaas Bhat, a senior at Harvard University majoring in social studies and physics, will pursue an M.Sc. in mathematical modeling and scientific computing and an M.Sc. in international health and tropical medicine.
- Benjamin Chang, is a senior at Harvard University with double majors in chemical and physical biology and computer science. At Oxford, he will pursue an M.Sc. in engineering science to advance machine learning for synthetic biology.
The 2024 US Rhodes Scholars collectively plan to contribute to various disciplines, such as linguistics, social science, and forced migration studies. Their ambitious pursuits include studies in mathematical modeling, scientific computing, and advancements in machine learning for synthetic biology.
Ramona L. Doyle, the American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, commended the scholars for their values-based leadership and selfless ambitions to improve communities and the world. With these latest selections, the Rhodes Scholarship has been awarded to 3,642 Americans from 327 colleges and universities, further solidifying its legacy as a beacon of academic excellence and leadership.