The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and highest honor any student can receive for an international postgraduate program to continue their studies at the University of Oxford.
For the second time in its 118-year history, ten Black Americans have been chosen as U.S. Rhodes Scholars, tying up the 2017 record for the most ever in a single class, according to Black Enterprise.
There were a total of 32 Americans selected for this year’s Rhodes Scholars class, and according to a press statement from the American secretary of the Rhodes Trust Elliot F. Gerson, it’s one of the most diverse groups ever.
“This year’s American Rhodes Scholars—independently elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously—reflect the remarkable diversity that characterizes and strengthens the United States. Twenty-two of the 32 are students of color; ten are Black, equal to the greatest number ever elected in one year in the United States. Nine are first-generation Americans or immigrants; and one is a Dreamer with active DACA status. Seventeen of the winners are women, 14 are men, and one is non-binary. These young Americans will go to Oxford next October to study in fields broadly across the social, biological and physical sciences, the humanities, and public policy. They are leaders already, and we are confident that their contributions to public welfare globally will expand exponentially over the course of their careers.”
This year’s Rhodes Scholars are a unique class with lots of groundbreaking news making history.
Phaidra Buchanan — one of the ten Black scholars chosen — is the University of Georgia’s first Black student to earn this honor from England’s Oxford University, Athens Banner-Herald reports.
According to a UGA announcement, Buchanan “plans to generate policy that promotes equitable funding, school desegregation and culturally response curricula, pedagogy and assessments.”
Her postgraduate plans include a graduate study in comparative and international education as well as a secondary-level social studies teacher position to help her gain practical experience.
A statement from Gerson claims that the Rhodes Scholarships is “the oldest and best-known award for international study, and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates.” Now ten Black students will have the honor of showcasing academic excellence at the highest level for graduate programs.
For more information on the 32 Rhodes Scholars, click here.