The Rhodes Trust has announced its newest Rhodes scholars, and 10 of the 32 American students selected to attend the United Kingdom’s Oxford University for postgraduate studies are African American, the most ever to receive the prestigious honor.
The group includes a student pursuing academic research involving Black Lives Matter, a college athlete who developed a prosthetic knee and the first black woman to lead West Point’s Cadet Corps
Here is the list of black Rhodes scholars for 2018:
- Simone Askew’s international-history undergraduate thesis examined rape as a tool for genocide. She is the first black woman to serve as captain of the Corps of Cadets, which is the highest position in West Point’s chain of command. That’s the U.S. Military Academy, not the West Point Shopping Center across town, where the highest position is the manager at Zaxby’s.
- Camille A. Borders was active in the Ferguson, Mo., protests and founded Washington University Students in Solidarity to address police brutality and racial profiling. Her senior thesis investigated how African-American women emerging from slavery understood and practiced their sexual lives and how slavery affected relationships. Borders is also a slam poet who wrote a poem about whatever you are thinking.
- Jasmine Brown will earn her Ph.D. in physiology, anatomy and genetics at Oxford. She fights against implicit bias in laboratories and has done cancer research at the Broad Institute, pulmonary research at John Hopkins, behavioral science at the University of Miami and neuroscience at Washington University, where she is researching protective genes against cognitive defects following West Nile-induced encephalitis. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds impressive as hell.
- Tania N. Fabo is a Harvard senior in human development and regenerative biology. Fabo is the child of Cameroonian parents and created the first Black Health Matters conference at Harvard. She has studied cancer throughout her college career and plans to study oncology at Oxford, so Shannon Sharpe probably shouldn’t light up a Black & Mild near Fabo.
- JaVaughn T. “J.T.” Flowers graduated from Yale with a degree in political science and started an organization to make sure low-income students receive an equal education. Flowers played basketball at Yale and started a program that changed the university’s financial aid system. The “J.T.” stands for “just talented.”
- Hazim Hardeman is Temple University’s first Rhodes scholar. After attending inner-city-Philadelphia high schools, enrolling in a community college and finishing with high honors, Hardeman graduated from Temple magna cum laude. He has studied and written about pedagogy, race and politics, gun control, hip-hop and African-American intellectual history. He works as a Philadelphia substitute teacher. He is better than we are.
- Chelsea A. Jackson is also a Truman scholar and helped revive Atlanta’s chapter of the NAACP. She is pursuing a master at Emory; her thesis will examine prosecutorial discretion and race. Jackson is also the musical director of AHANA A Capella, meaning that she is smart and she can sing.However, since she is in Atlanta, the correct pronunciation is “saaang.”
- Thamara V. Jean completed her senior thesis on the Black Lives Matter movement during her junior year at the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College of the City University of New York. It was subsequently published in the Journal of Politics and Society. She then followed up this research by studying black nationalism at Harvard during the 1960s. During my junior year of college, I accomplished a similarly impressive feat when I ran a Boston during a highly contested game of spades. (I did renege, though.)
- Naomi T. Mburu won the 2016 National Society of Black Engineers Regional Conference Award for the best oral presentation and has given 11 research presentations and co-authored two peer-reviewed journal articles. Mburu, a senior at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, plans to earn a D.Phil. in engineering science at Oxford.
- Jordan D. Thomas, a senior at Princeton, plans to study evidence-based social intervention and policy evaluation at Oxford. He has already interned at the Office for Civil Rights’ Program Legal Group at the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative. Thomas was also a Fulbright Summer Institute fellow at the University of Bristol studying the culture, heritage and history of the U.K. He probably already has a British accent, making a smart, young version of Idris Elba.
The Rhodes scholarships cover all expenses and are considered the most prestigious scholarships available to American students.