Clifton ’15, Lu ’16, Platt ’16 and Soltas ’16 awarded Rhodes Scholarships| Nov 22, 2015
Katherine Clifton ’15,Richard Lu ’16, Cameron Platt ’16 andEvan Soltas ’16 were selected as recipients of the Rhodes Scholarship Class of 2016, the organization announced Saturday.
The Rhodes Scholarship is a postgraduate award that enables students to study for two years at the University of Oxford. Elliot Gerson, American Secretary to the Rhodes Trust, explained that the application process is composed of first securing an endorsement from one’s university, then applying in one of sixteen districts across the country.
Gerson noted that while most applicants come from highly selective institutions, the process is an open and fair one and that in most years there is a winner from an institution that had never previously had a Rhodes scholar.
The most fundamental requirement is strong academic performance, as the Rhodes Scholarship is an academic award, Gerson said. However, he added that the selection committees also look at personal characteristics, including concern for others, ambition to make a positive difference in the world and capacity for leadership.
He noted that the criteria for Rhodes scholars remain the same as they were in Cecil Rhodes’ will, but that women are now included and the specified requirement for strong athletics is interpreted now as a desire for well-rounded candidates in general.
Clifton, who majored in English, is originally from Honolulu, Hawaii and is currently in Serbia on a Dale Fellowship. She said that she wants to spend her time at Oxford doing more work on migration and refugee studies in Serbia, specifically within the Balkans. She said the University played an important formative role in her life.
“The things I’m doing now I wouldn’t have been doing without casino online Bridge Year or without Princeton or without different classes that I took,” Clifton said.
Lu, a chemistry major from Ballwin, Mo., explained that he wanted to take an interdisciplinary approach to look at the social components of health care. He said that he will be completing two year-long master of science programs, one in international health and tropical medicine and one in global health science while at Oxford and that he plans to return to the United States afterward to go to medical school.
“There were so many brilliant, inspiring peers who were interviewing along with me yesterday as well, and I’m just really grateful for the opportunity,” Lu said.
Platt, an English major from Santa Barbara, Calif., said that her plan is to pursue a master’s degree in English and American studies through the English department at Oxford and a master’s degree in medieval studies through the history department at Oxford. She added that she plans to eventually pursue a Ph.D. in English.
Platt said that she decided to apply because she had spent the summer of 2015 at Oxford taking a graduate seminar and doing research and had formed a special connection to the place. She added that she knows she wants to pursue graduate study and that she likes the Oxford educational model.
“I just love the philosophy of the Rhodes, which mixes scholarship and service,” she said.
Soltas, an economics major from Rumson, N.J., explained that his plan to is to study applied statistics with the big picture goal of learning more about economics and public policy.
“What is most fulfilling, I would say, is the opportunity to help enlighten and shape the choices and tradeoffs the politicians face,” Soltas said.
He added that the intensity of the University has been formative in allowing him to push himself and have mentors to push him.
Gerson explained that while Rhodes scholars often pursue academic careers, career paths for Rhodes scholars can include just about any career. He added the idea that Rhodes scholars are expected to go into politics is a common misconception.
“There’s no screen for one particular career aspiration or another, but in all cases we’re expecting people to choose careers that are focused on others as opposed to purely self-advancement,” Gerson said.