Being selected a Rhodes scholar is one of the highest academic honors for college students in the U.S. The 2015 scholars were chosen from 877 students who attend a cross-section of 305 colleges and universities.
And TNJ.com is delighted to learn that five of those scholars are high-achieving, Black students.
Our five brilliant achievers follow in the footsteps of philosopher Alain Locke who, in 1907, was the first African American person to be named a Rhodes scholar. Cecil Rhodes founded the scholarship program in 1902 and stated that Rhodes scholars must have ?high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.?
Other African American winners of the Rhodes scholarship include John Edgar Wideman, Randall Kennedy, Kurt Schmoke, Peter Blair Henry, Marcus Christian, and former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, among others.
According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, these are the students who made the 2015 list:?
Robert A. Fisher is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is majoring in political science with minors in history and Africana studies. He previously won a Truman Scholarship. Fisher is the student body president at the university and has a perfect academic record. Fisher will study for a master?s degree in comparative social policy at Oxford.
Rachel V. Harmon is from Champaign, Illinois. She is a senior at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she is majoring in industrial and labor relations. Before starting her college career, Harmon was an AmeriCorps volunteer at a rural elementary school in the Mississippi Delta. She plans on studying for a master?s degree in evidence-based social policy at Oxford.
Ridwan Y. Hassen is a senior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Hassen is majoring in computer science with an emphasis on neuroscience. He began his college career at Emory University and transferred to Dartmouth after two years. He is the son of refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia. At Dartmouth, he is a member of the Endurance Racing Team. Hassen is planning to pursue a master?s degree in public policy at Oxford.
Tayo A. Sanders II is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he is majoring in materials science. Sanders previously won a Goldwater Scholarship. Sanders has conducted research in the nanomaterials laboratory at the University of Strasbourg in France. Sanders is a triathlete. At Oxford, Sanders plans to earn a Ph.D. in materials science.
Sarah E. Yerima is a senior at Princeton University in New Jersey. She is majoring in sociology. During the summer of 2013, Yerima completed an intensive program in Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro. She will enroll in a two-year, master?s degree program in politics at Oxford. After studying at Oxford, Yerima plans to enter a joint J.D./Ph.D. and hopes to become a professor of law.