Five Yale College seniors who excel academically and demonstrate a commitment to their community are among 32 Americans who have won prestigious Rhodes Scholarships to study next year at the University of Oxford in England.
Sophie M. Huttner, James A. (JT) Mullins and Ulystean J. (Jonathan) Oates, all of Silliman College; Henry Large of Davenport College; and Veer Sangha from Ezra Stiles College, will join an international group of scholars chosen from more than 60 countries around the world for graduate study at Oxford from October 2023. More than 100 Rhodes Scholars will be selected from around the world this year.
Rhodes Scholarships cover all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford. Scholars are chosen for their academic excellence, commitment to making a positive difference in the world, concern for the well-being of others, awareness of inequality, and promise of leadership.
This year, more than 2,500 students began the application process, and 840 of them were approved by 244 colleges and universities. Selection committees in each of the 16 U.S. districts then invited the top candidates for an interview, from which the 32 U.S. scholars were chosen. For the third consecutive year, Rhodes Scholars have been elected entirely remotely, a practice that began with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“They inspire us already with their accomplishments, but even more so with their values-based leadership and selfless ambitions to better their communities and the world,” said Elliot F. Gerson, US Secretary of the Rhodes Trust.
Yale last had at least five Rhodes Scholars in 2012, according to Rebekah Westphal, director of the Office of Scholarships and Funding and assistant dean of Yale College.
“This great news reflects the wonderful support all nominees have received from faculty and staff and many others over the past few months,” said Westphal.
Biographies of Yale Rhodes Scholars follow.
Sophie Huttner, from Sarasota, Florida, is majoring in global affairs at Yale, where much of her scholarly work and service activities have focused on issues of gender, violence and forced migration, with a focus on Latin America. She has worked as a volunteer interpreter for asylum seekers and has been active in community service in New Haven, working as an English teacher for Yale’s Bridges ESL (English as a Second Language) program and as a teacher last summer for the Ulysses S. Grant Program at Dwight Hall. She is president of the Yale Interpretation Network, where she helps provide pro bono interpretation and translation services to nonprofit organizations in New Haven. In his spare time, Huttner enjoys learning languages and participating in Jewish life on campus. She plans to complete the M.Sc. degree in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at Oxford.
Henry Large, from Washington, DC, majors in history and Spanish. He is captain of the Yale Rugby team. Much of his academic and volunteer work focuses on issues related to migration crises in Latin America, and he has translated for asylum seekers in Maryland, Connecticut and California. Large traveled to Peru to conduct research for his thesis on the legacy of Hiram Bingham III, a Yale history professor known for his now controversial excavations at Machu Picchu. He completed an internship last summer for a USAID-funded non-governmental organization in Guatemala City and trained with the Guatemala national rugby team. Large will complete an M.Phil. degree in Latin American Studies at Oxford and then plans to serve as an officer in the Marine Corps.
James (JT) Mullins
JT Mullins of Hershey, Pennsylvania, majors in ethics, politics, and economics, and is also pursuing a certificate in statistics and data science. He was a fellow at the Institute for Responsible Citizenship and an intern at the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. Mullins worked with the Center for Law and Social Policy and served as co-chair and Solidarity Chair of the Yale Black Men’s Union. As part of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, he conducted research on restorative justice reforms in Washington, DC. In his main thesis, he explores the abolition of prisons and the police. At Oxford, he will continue this work by pursuing an M.Sc. degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Ulysteen J. (Jonathan) Oates
Jonathan Oates, from Knoxville, Tennessee, majors in political science with an interest in democratic theory and political reform. Her doctoral thesis explores the relationship between democracy, equality and the dynamics of exclusion through the prism of “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville. He has worked extensively with Yale College Council as a senator and board member, and served as co-chair of Silliman’s Business and Administration Committee. He is enrolled in the Brady-Johnson Grand Strategy program. Outside of Yale, Oates has worked for the nonprofit progressive research firms ThinkTennessee and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, as well as the office of Congressman Jim Cooper, which represents a district that includes Nashville. Oates is a Fellow of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship. At Oxford, he will pursue an M.Phil. degree in political theory.
Veer Sangha, from Columbia, Missouri, majors in computer science. His academic work focuses on the ways artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to improve healthcare globally. As a researcher at Yale’s Cardiovascular Data Science Lab, Sangha has played a key role in developing new AI-based technologies that make cardiovascular disease detection more accessible in resource-limited settings around the world. He is the recipient of the prestigious Elizabeth Bartlett-Connor Research Award from the American Heart Association. On campus, he participates in student-led preventative cardiovascular care efforts. He will be pursuing a D.Phil. degree in health data science at Oxford.
The Rhodes Scholarship was established in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes. To date, 3,610 Americans have won Rhodes Scholarships, representing 327 colleges and universities. Women first became eligible in 1976. This year’s US winners include 16 women and 16 men.
Yale students interested in applying for next year’s Rhodes Scholarships should contact the Office of Scholarships and Funding. Deadlines begin in August 2023.