A Milestone in This Year's List of Rhodes Scholars

A record 22 of 32 US recipients are women
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2021 7:44 AM CST
List of New Rhodes Scholars Sets a Record
This photo provided by the Rhodes Trust shows Louise Franke in Clemson, S.C., one of the new Rhodes scholars.   (Emily Bowling/Courtesy of The Rhodes Trust via AP)

The class of US Rhodes scholars for 2022 includes the largest number of women ever selected for the scholarship in one year, the Rhodes Trust announced Sunday. Of the 32 students chosen to study at the University of Oxford in England, 22 are women, the office of the American secretary of the trust said in a statement. Three schools—Claremont McKenna College, Mount Holyoke College, and Union College—have a recipient for the first time in at least 25 years, per the AP. All 32 scholars were expected to start at Oxford in October. The scholarship covers financial expenses to attend the school.

One of the women selected is Louise Franke, a 21-year-old senior studying biochemistry at South Carolina's Clemson University. Franke said she hopes to merge her interests in science and public policy through a career in health care policy. She intends to study politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford. Franke, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, cited her mentors and various academic programs at the school as integral to her success. “It feels amazing to be part of this historic moment, as a woman and as a woman from the South,” Franke said. “I don't really have the words for it.”

Also among the winners is Devashish Basnet, a senior studying political science at New York City's Hunter College. Basnet arrived in the United States as a 7-year-old asylum seeker from Nepal and spent much of his childhood in immigration courts, an experience he says helped turn his interests toward immigration policy. Basnet, now 22, of Hicksville, New York, said he was proud to represent the communities he came from, especially as a product of New York City public schools. “I definitely blacked out. It didn't feel real," Basnet said of the moment he learned he had won the prestigious honor over Zoom.

(More Rhodes scholar stories.)

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