15 Women Named Rhodes Scholars

The Rhodes Scholarships, considered by many to be the most prestigious awards given to U.S. college students, were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, an industrialist who made a vast fortune in colonial Africa. Each year, 32 Americans are named Rhodes Scholars. The scholarships provide funds for two or three years of graduate study at Oxford University in Britain. Rhodes Scholars from the United States join students from 14 other jurisdictions including Australia, southern Africa, Kenya, India, and Canada. All told, about 80 Rhodes Scholars worldwide are selected each year for study at Oxford.

This year, 1,700 students sought Rhodes Scholarships. Of those, 838 were endorsed for selection by 302 different colleges and universities. Of the 32 American winners this year, six attend Harvard University and seven have been students at Yale University.

Women were first included in Rhodes Scholarships in 1976. Since that time, 473 women have been named Rhodes Scholars. There have been only four times, the last being in 2011, that women outnumbered men among the American Rhodes Scholars selected in that particular year. This year there are 15 women and 17 men.

(L to R) First row: Juliet Elizabeth Allan, Jennifer M. Bright, Joy A. Buolamwini, Amanda J. Frickle, Rhiana E. Gunn-Wright, Margaret C. Hayden, and Kiley F. Hunkler. Second row: Rachel R. Kolb, Catherine Laporte-Oshiro, Dakota E. McCoy, Rachel M. Myrick, Katie D. Whitcombe, Georgianna H. Whiteley, Georgianna H. Whiteley, Rachel W. Woodlee, and Nina M. Yancy.

Juliet Elizabeth Allan graduated from the University of Georgia last spring. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Arabic, economics, and international affairs and has a master’s degree in international policy. She has studied abroad in Morocco, England, Peru, Germany, Chile, India, and South Korea. She will study for a master’s degree in modern Middle Eastern studies at Oxford.

Jennifer M. Bright is a senior at Yale University, where she is majoring in ethics, politics, and economics. She is editor-in-chief of the Yale Undergraduate Law Review and is president of the Yale Urban Collective. She will study for a master of public policy degree at Oxford.

Joy A. Buolamwini is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she majored in computer science. She is currently working at the Carter Center in Atlanta. She has founded or co-founded three businesses. She plans on a degree in African studies at Oxford.

Amanda J. Frickle is a 2012 summa cum laude graduate of the College of Idaho, where she majored in political economy and history and was president of the student body. As a Rhodes Scholar, she will study for a master’s degree in women’s studies.

Rhiana E. Gunn-Wright is a 2011 graduate of Yale University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in African American studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She has been working at Women’s Policy Research in Washington, D.C.  Her plan is to obtain a master’s degree in comparative social policy at Oxford.

Margaret C. Hayden, who lives in Brunswick, Maine, is a senior at Stanford University. She is majoring in human biology and ethics in society. She is on Stanford’s squash and sailing teams. Hayden plans to study for a master’s degree in medical anthropology.

Kiley F. Hunkler, from Glendale, Missouri, is a senior at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. She is majoring in engineering psychology. She had plans to attend medical school directly out of West Point but will now wait until she has completed her studies at Oxford in global health science. At West Point, she is a battalion commander and captain of the women’s lacrosse team.

Rachel R. Kolb is from Los Ranchos, New Mexico. She is a 2012 graduate of Stanford University where she majored in English and completed a minor in human biology. She is currently in a master’s degree program in English at Stanford. Kolb is president of the Stanford equestrian team and is managing editor of the Leland Quarterly. At Oxford, she will pursue a master’s degree in contemporary literature.

Catherine Laporte-Oshiro from Larkspur, California, is a senior at Yale University. She is majoring in ethics, politics, and economics. She aspires to a career in public service related to China. She has served as an intern for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Laporte-Oshiro will pursue a master’s degree in modern Chinese studies.

Dakota E. McCoy is a senior at Yale University. She is majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology. A Goldwater Scholar, McCoy is a member of the Yale track and field team where she in the university’s top 10 all time in javelin and hurdles. She plans to earn a master of science degree in zoology at Oxford.

Rachel M. Myrick is from Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is majoring in political science and global studies and is pursuing a minor in creative writing. She is vice president of the student body. In England, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in international relations.

Katie D. Whitcombe, a resident of Mesa, Arizona, is a senior at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. She majors in Chinese and academically is currently tied for first in her class. She runs sprints and hurdles for the academy’s track team. She also plays the flute and is a dancer. As a Rhodes Scholar, she will pursue a master’s degree in modern Chinese studies.

Georgianna H. Whiteley is from Wyzata, Minnesota. She is a senior at Luther College where she is majoring in chemistry and has a minor in biology. A varsity tennis player, she has conducted research in nanoscience and nanotechnology at the University of Iowa. Whitely aims to earn a master’s degree in medical anthropology at Oxford.

Rachel W. Woodlee is a senior at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She is majoring in business economics and Chinese language and culture. She is fluent in Mandarin and has spent time studying in China and Tibet. At Wofford, she is captain of the volleyball team. She will seek a master’s degree in modern Chinese studies as a Rhodes Scholar.

Nina M. Yancy is a senior at Harvard University where she majors in social studies. Yancy grew up in the Dallas area but her family recently moved to Chicago. Yancy has had internships at CNN, the Center for American Political Studies and in the British House of Commons. She is a member of the Harvard Ballet Company. She plans on pursuing a master’s degree in global health science as a Rhodes Scholar.

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