African-American College Students Garner a Record Seven Rhodes Scholarships for 2017

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(L to R) Cameron D. Clarke, Aryn A. Frazier, Christian E. Nattiel, Olivia A. Klevorn, Aaron C. Robertson, Ahmed M. Ahmed, and Caylin L. Moore (photos via jbhe.com)

article via jbhe.com (additional reporting by Peggy Terry)

Recently, the Rhodes Trust announced the 32 American winners of Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at Oxford University in England. Being named a Rhodes Scholar is considered among the highest honors that can be won by a U.S. college student.

The scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, an industrialist who made a vast fortune in colonial Africa. According to the will of Rhodes, applicants must have “high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.”

This year, about 2,500 students applied to be Rhodes Scholars. More than 880 students were endorsed by 311 college or university for consideration for a Rhodes Scholarship. Some 230 applicants were named finalists. Then, two Rhodes Scholars were selected from each of 16 districts across the United States. The Rhodes Trust pays all tuition and fees for scholarship winners to study at Oxford. A stipend for living and travel expenses is also provided.

In 1907 Alain LeRoy Locke, later a major philosopher and literary figure of the Harlem Renaissance, was selected as a Rhodes Scholar to study at Oxford University. It would be more than 50 years later, in 1962, until another African American would be named a Rhodes Scholar. Other African Americans who have won Rhodes Scholarships include Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School, Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore, and Franklin D. Raines, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and former CEO of Fannie Mae. In 1978 Karen Stevenson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first African-American woman selected as a Rhodes Scholar.

The Rhodes Trust does not publicize the race or ethnicity of scholarship winners. But it appears that this year seven of the 32 Rhodes winners are African Americans. This is the most African American Rhodes Scholars in history.

Following are brief biographies of the African American winners:

Cameron D. Clarke is a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is the fourth Howard student to win a Rhodes Scholarship. Clarke is majoring in community health education and biology. He is the news editor of the student newspaper at Howard and serves as an intern for the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology at the U.S. House of Representatives. Clarke plans to study for a master’s degree in primary health care at Oxford.

Aryn A. Frazier is a senior at the University of Virginia, where she is double majoring in politics and African American and African studies. Frazier is president of the Black Student Alliance at the university. Frazier, a resident of Laurel, Maryland, plans to study for a master’s degree in comparative politics at Oxford.

Christian E. Nattiel from Madeira Beach, Florida, is a senior at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. At West Point, Nattiel is double-majoring in mathematical sciences and philosophy and is a member of the academy’s handball team. At Oxford, Nattiel will study for master’s degrees in comparative social policy and public policy.

Olivia A. Klevorn is a senior at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. A native of Chicago, Klevorn is majoring in anthropology. At Yale, Klevorn is the director of the Heritage Theatre Ensemble and president of a student-run poetry association. She will study for a Ph.D. in socio-legal studies at Oxford.

Aaron C. Robertson of Redford, Michigan, is a senior at Princeton University in New Jersey. He is majoring in Italian and focuses his research on Afro-Italian literature. At Princeton, he is the co-editor-in-chief of the Nassau Literary Review. Robertson plans to pursue a master’s degree in modern languages at Oxford.

Ahmed M. Ahmed is a biology major at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is a resident of Rochester, Minnesota. His research is focused on the development of new synthetic strategies for producing polymers. He is the son of immigrants from Somalia. Ahmed will study for a master’s degree in organic and medical chemistry at Oxford.

Caylin L. Moore is a member of the football team at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. A resident of Carson, California, Moore is majoring in economics at TCU. He was raised in poverty and was homeless. His father was convicted to a life sentence for murder. Moore is the founder of an organization of student athletes who encourage children from disadvantaged groups to attend college. He will study public policy as a Rhodes Scholar.

To read full article, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/12/a-record-year-for-african-american-rhodes-scholars/

Louisville QB Lamar Jackson Wins Heisman Trophy; Youngest Player Ever to Earn Award

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is the first Heisman Trophy winner from his university.

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is the first Heisman Trophy winner from his university. (photo via cnn.com)

article by Jill Martin and Steve Almasy via cnn.com

Lamar Jackson, a sophomore quarterback at the University of Louisville, has won the Heisman Trophy, given to the most outstanding player in college football.  Jackson, who amassed 4,928 yards of total offense and 51 total touchdowns, is youngest player ever and the first player from Louisville to win the Heisman.

Wearing a school-color red coat with a black lapel, Jackson seemed a bit overwhelmed by winning.

“Oh my God,” he said several times.  Among those he thanked were his teammates, saying the award was for all of them.  “I can’t wait to treasure this moment with all of you,” he said. “I love you guys.”

Jackson told reporters he had a speech written but thanked his fellow players, coaches and mom from his heart.  “For some reason when they called my name my chest started pumping and heart started racing real hard,” he said.

Jackson is the first player in major college football history with at least 3,300 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards in a season.  He was second in the nation in points responsible per game (25.7).  “The improvement Lamar has made since coming to Louisville has been amazing,” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. “It’s all because of his dedication and hard work.”

To read more, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/10/sport/heisman-trophy/

Junior Olympian Sheppard Sisters Named Sports Illustrated SportsKids Of The Year

(photo via Sports Illustrated)

article by Rachaell Davis via essence.com

This week, young track and field stars Tai, Rainn and Brooke Sheppard were announced as the recipients of the 2016 Sports Illustrated SportsKids Of The Year award for their athletic accomplishments and unwavering dedication in the face of extreme hardships. ESSENCE caught up with the young track stars and their proud mother Tonia Handy for a quick chat just as they were preparing for the SI SportsKids of the Year announcement.

The girls first took an interest in track and field when their babysitter signed them up for a track meet in January of 2015. When the family fell on hard times and relocated to a homeless shelter that September, the encouraging spirit of those around them played a big role in helping to keep them going.

My coach really inspired me to try hard and to really put everything into it,” 9-year-old Brooke told ESSENCE. “Also, my babysitter Sharon Davis, who introduced us to track and field and really helped us work as hard as we could to get us where we are now.” Brooke also credits Olympic champion Alex Felix with inspiring her to push forward. “My inspiration is Alex Felix,” she adds. “She really inspires me to work really hard like her.”

To read full article, go to: Sheppard Sisters Named Sports Illustrated SportsKids Of The Year Essence.com

21st Century Fox and Pepsico Team Up to Offer STEM Scholarships with “Hidden Figures” Contest for Girls and Women

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Are you a real-life “hidden figure” on her way to changing the world? You could win a scholarship to help make your STEM dreams come true! PepsiCo and 21st Century Fox are partnering to find the next generation of girls and women who will lead the way in STEM. Sound like you? Enter the Search for Hidden Figures contest by Dec. 10!

Prizes are awards of $200,000 total in scholarships to 12 standout finalists. Winners will also receive exclusive opportunities and more from PepsiCo and Hidden Figures.

For more information and contest rules, go to https://searchforhiddenfigures.com

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Named People Magazine’s 2016 “Sexiest Man Alive”

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson named People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" (photo via twitter.com)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” (photo via twitter.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to usatoday.com, actor/producer and former professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has just been chosen by People Magazine to be this year’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

Not since Denzel Washington was chosen in 1996 has a man of African-American descent earned the title.

“I thought, ‘Wow, we’ve pretty much reached the pinnacle,’” Johnson said, reacting to his new moniker. “I’m not quite too sure where we go from here. I’ve done it all, this is it.”

So what does he think makes him so sexy?

“Ah, a sense of humor,” he said in the story. “And I think probably just not trying to be sexy and just being cool and confident in your movies. I think with a lot of my fans, I’ve gotten to a very, very cool place where there’s a direct line between the man they know off-screen and the man they see onscreen.”

Author Paul Beatty Becomes 1st American to Win Man Booker Prize With ‘The Sellout’

Paul Beatty, who won the Man Booker Prize for “The Sellout,” a satire about race in America, at a ceremony Tuesday in London. (Credit: John Phillips/Getty Images)

article by Alexandra Alter via nytimes.com

Paul Beatty’s novel “The Sellout,” a blistering satire about race in America, won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday, marking the first time an American writer has won the award.

The five Booker judges, who were unanimous in their decision, cited the novel’s inventive comic approach to the thorny issues of racial identity and injustice.

With its outrageous premise and unabashed skewering of racial stereotypes, “The Sellout” is an audacious choice for the judges, who oversee one of the most prestigious awards in literature.

“The truth is rarely pretty, and this is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon,” Amanda Foreman, the head of the judging panel, said at a press briefing in London before the winner was announced. “It plunges into the heart of contemporary American society.”

At a ceremony in London, Mr. Beatty said that writing “The Sellout” had taken an emotional toll.

“It was a hard book for me to write; I know it’s hard to read,” he said. “I’m just trying to create space for myself. And hopefully that can create space for others.”

A raucous tragicomedy that explores the legacy of slavery and racial and economic inequality in America, the novel felt deeply resonant at a moment when police violence against African-Americans has incited protests around the country and forced Americans to confront the country’s history of racism.

In a review in The New York Times, Dwight Garner wrote that the novel’s first 100 pages read like “the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility.”

To read full article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/26/business/media/paul-beatty-wins-man-booker-prize-with-the-sellout.html?_r=0

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey Receives 2016 Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement

Natasha (photo via blog.bestamericanpoetry.com)

Natasha Trethewey (photo via blog.bestamericanpoetry.com)

article by jbhe.com

Natasha Trethewey, the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University and the former poet laureate of the United States, received the 2016 Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement from the Academy of American Poets. The award comes with a $25,000 prize.

In announcing the award, Marilyn Nelson, chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, stated that “Natasha Trethewey’s poems plumb personal and national history to meditate on the conundrum of American racial identities. Whether writing of her complex family torn by tragic loss, or in diverse imagined voices from the more distant past, Trethewey encourages us to reflect, learn and experience delight. The wide scope of her interests and her adept handling of form have created an opus of classics both elegant and necessary.”

Professor Trethewey is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and three other poetry collections. She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press, 2010).

To read more, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/09/natasha-trethewey-awarded-the-2016-fellowship-for-distinguished-poetic-achievement/