Four exceptional Indian American students were named to the new class of 2020 Rhodes Scholars by the Rhodes Trust Nov. 23, who will go on to attend one of the colleges at Oxford University.
Among the 32 Scholars selected by the Trust were Serena Alagappan of Princeton University, from New York; Ananya A. Malhotra of Princeton University, from Georgia; Prathm Juneja of the University of Notre Dame, from Indiana; and Kritika Singh of Northeastern University, from Virginia.
“This year’s American Rhodes Scholars — independently elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously — once again reflect the extraordinary diversity that characterizes and strengthens the United States,” Elliot F. Gerson, American secretary of the Rhodes Trust, said in a statement.
“They will go to Oxford in September 2020 to study in fields broadly across the social, biological and physical sciences, and in the humanities. They are leaders already, and we expect their impact to expand exponentially over the course of their public-spirited careers,” Gerson added.
Alagappan is a senior at Princeton majoring in comparative literature. Her writing and research explore the ways in which identity and modes of expression shape art.
Alagappan is the president of the Princeton University American Sign Language Club and the editor-in-chief at the Nassau Weekly. A published author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Alagappan has also interned at O, The Oprah Magazine, and the Religion and Resettlement Project where she interviewed and preserved stories of Holocaust survivors.
At Oxford, she will pursue an M.Sc. in Social Anthropology and an M.Sc. in world literatures in English.
Malhotra is a senior at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School
of Public and International Affairs.
Her research examines transnational legacies of intergenerational trauma typically excluded from nuclear history, and her senior thesis uses oral histories to examine the consequences of nuclear weapons testing in the American southwest.
While interning at United Nations Women, Malhotra created a program for youth gender equality activists. Her plans are a career as a human rights lawyer and an academic.
At Oxford, she will do an M.Phil. in International Relations.
Juneja is a senior at the University of Notre Dame, graduating in December with majors in political science and computer science.
Through his undergraduate studies and his work, Juneja grapples with how technology and policy can work together to make government more equitable.
His undergraduate thesis statistically analyzes the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program and its impact on voter turnout rates.
Juneja worked as a legislative and innovation intern for the South Bend Mayor’s Office. He is a Truman Scholar.
At Oxford, Juneja will pursue an M.Sc. in Social Data Science, as well as a Master of Public Policy.
Singh is a senior at Northeastern University where she majors in bioengineering. She is a Truman Scholar and a Goldwater Scholar.
Singh is founder and CEO of Malaria Free World, a non-profit focused on malaria awareness and education, and she has worked in research labs at Massachusetts General Hospital in epigenetics and at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
She has published in her field, has a patent, and founded the Northeastern University Global Health Initiative. Singh aspires to a career as a physician- scientist-advocate focused on emerging diseases.
At Oxford, she plans to do a D.Phil. in biomedical sciences at the intersection of chemical biology and bioengineering.
For the third consecutive year, the class overall is majority-minority and approximately half are first-generation Americans.
Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England and may allow funding in some instances for four years.
Gerson called the Rhodes Scholarships "the oldest and best-known award for international study, and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates."
They were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, and are provided in partnership with the Second Century Founders, John McCall MacBain O.C. and The Atlantic Philanthropies, and many other generous benefactors. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.
Applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in the will of Cecil Rhodes. These criteria are first, academic excellence. A Rhodes Scholar should also have great personal energy, ambition for impact, and an ability to work with others and to achieve one’s goals. In addition, a Rhodes Scholar should be committed to make a strong difference for good in the world, be concerned for the welfare of others, and be conscious of inequities.
The 32 Rhodes Scholars chosen from the United States will join an international group of Scholars chosen from 23 other jurisdictions (of more than 60 countries) around the world, and for the second year, two Scholars from any country in the world without its own scholarship.
One hundred Rhodes Scholars will be selected worldwide this year, including several who have attended American colleges and universities but who are not U.S. citizens and who have applied through their home country.
With the elections announced Nov. 23, 3,516 Americans have won Rhodes Scholarships, representing 324 colleges and universities. Since 1976, women have been eligible to apply and 588 American women have now won the coveted scholarship. Approximately 2,000 American Rhodes Scholars are living in all parts of the U.S. and abroad.
The value of the Rhodes Scholarship varies depending on the academic field and the degree (B.A., master’s, doctoral) chosen. The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations, and transportation to and from England.
The total value of the scholarship averages approximately $70,000 per year, and up to as much as approximately $250,000 for scholars who remain at Oxford for four years in certain departments.