Record number of American women selected as Rhodes scholars

A record 22 American women were selected this year for the prestigious Rhodes scholars program to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, the organization announced on Sunday. 

The Rhodes Trust said the 32 total recipients were selected out of a pool of 826 applicants who were selected for showing great promise of leadership, adding that "consideration of balance or diversity are not factors in selection.” 

A scholar was selected from South Carolina’s Clemson University for the first time ever, while Claremont McKenna College, Mount Holyoke College and Union College have recipients for the first time in 25 years. 

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The 22 women selected for the scholarship include United States Military Academy senior Veronica Lucian and students from Columbia and Harvard. 

“They will now complete their applications to begin courses at Oxford next year, widely across the University's academic disciplines,” the organization said in a statement. 

The scholarships cover financial expenses for the 32 recipients. 

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For the second straight year, the selection process was completed virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the statement said.

Scholars are endorsed by their colleges and universities and then must be selected through an application and interview process.

"These criteria include first and fundamentally, academic excellence. This is a critical but only threshold condition. A Rhodes Scholar should also have great ambition for social impact, and an uncommon ability to work with others to achieve one’s goals," American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust Elliot Gerson said in a statement.

"They should be committed to make a strong difference for good in the world, be concerned for the welfare of others, and be acutely conscious of inequities," Gerson added.