Five Yale seniors who want to improve the world win 2023 Rhodes Scholarship

Five Yale College seniors who excel academically and demonstrate a commitment to their community are among the 32 Americans who have won.

Left to right: Sophie M. Huttner, Henry Large, James A. (JT) Mullins, Ulystean J. (Jonathan) Oates, and Veer Sangha

Five Yale College seniors who excel academically and demonstrate a commitment to their community are among the 32 Americans who have won prestigious Rhodes Scholarships for study next year at the University of Oxford in England.

Sophie M. Huttner and Ulystean J. (Jonathan) Oates, both of Silliman College; Henry Large of Davenport College; James A. (JT) Mullins of Pauli Murray College; and Veer Sangha of Ezra Stiles College, will join an international group of scholars chosen from more than 60 countries around the world for graduate study at Oxford beginning in October 2023. Over 100 Rhodes Scholars will be selected worldwide this year.

The Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford. Scholars are chosen for academic excellence, a commitment to making a positive difference in the world, a concern for the welfare of others, a consciousness of inequities, and for their promise of leadership.

This year, more than 2,500 students began the application process, and 840 of those were endorsed by 244 colleges and universities. Committees of selection in each of 16 U.S. districts then invited the strongest applicants for an interview, from which the 32 American scholars were chosen. For the third year in a row, the Rhodes Scholars were 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 by their values-based leadership and selfless ambitions to improve their communities and the world,” said Elliot F. Gerson, the American secretary of the Rhodes Trust.

Yale last had at least five Rhodes awardees in 2012, according to Rebekah Westphal, director of the Office of Fellowships and Funding and assistant dean of Yale College.

This great news reflects the wonderful support all the candidates received from faculty and staff and many others over the past few months,” Westphal said.

Biographies of the Yale Rhodes Scholars follows.

Sophie Huttner

Sophie Huttner, of Sarasota, Florida, is majoring in global affairs at Yale, where much of her academic work and service activity has focused on issues of gender, violence, and forced migration, with a concentration 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 the president of the Yale Interpretation Network, in which she helps to provide pro bono interpretation and translation services to nonprofits across New Haven. In her free 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

Henry Large, of Washington, D.C., is majoring in history and Spanish. He is captain of the Yale Men's Rugby team. Much of his academic and volunteer work is focused on issues related to Latin American migration crises, and he has translated for asylum seekers in Maryland, Connecticut, and California. Large traveled to Peru to conduct research for his senior thesis about the legacy of Hiram Bingham III, a Yale history professor known for his now-controversial excavations at Machu Picchu. He spent last summer interning for a USAID-funded nongovernmental organization in Guatemala City and training with the Guatemalan national rugby team. Large will complete a M.Phil. degree in Latin American studies at Oxford and afterwards plans to serve as an officer in the Marine Corps.

James (JT) Mullins

JT Mullins of Hershey, Pennsylvania, is majoring in ethics, politics, and economics, and is also pursuing a certificate in statistics and data science. He has been a scholar at the Institute for Responsible Citizenship and was an intern with the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. Mullins has worked with the Center for Law and Social Policy and was co-president and Solidarity Chair of the Yale Black Men’s Union. Through the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, he conducted research on restorative justice reforms in Washington, D.C. In his senior thesis, he is exploring prison and police abolition. At Oxford, he will continue this work by pursuing a M.Sc. degree in criminology and criminal justice.

Ulystean J. (Jonathan) Oates

Jonathan Oates, of Knoxville, Tennessee, is majoring in political science with interests in democratic theory and political reform. His senior thesis explores the relationship between democracy, equality, and dynamics of exclusion through the lens of Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America.” He has worked extensively with the Yale College Council as a senator and executive board member, and has served as co-president of the Silliman Activities and Administrative 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 for the office of Congressman Jim Cooper, who represents a district that includes Nashville. Oates is a member of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship. At Oxford, he will pursue a M.Phil. degree in political theory.

Veer Sangha

Veer Sangha, of Columbia, Missouri, is majoring in computer science. His academic work focuses on the ways artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to improve healthcare globally. As a researcher at the Cardiovascular Data Science Lab at Yale, Sangha has played a key role in the development of novel AI-enabled technologies that make the detection of cardiovascular disease more accessible in resource-limited settings across the world. He is a recipient of the American Heart Association’s prestigious Elizabeth Bartlett-Connor Research Award. On campus, he is involved in student-led cardiovascular preventative-care efforts. He will pursue 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 to apply in 1976. This year’s American winners include 16 women and 16 men.

Yale students interested in applying for next year’s Rhodes Scholarships should contact the Office of Fellowships and Funding. Deadlines begin in August 2023.

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