By: Matt Kelly | University Communications
College of Arts & Sciences students Aryn Frazier and Lauren Jackson are among the 32 American students named as 2017 Rhodes Scholars.
They are UVA’s 52nd and 53rd Rhodes Scholars. The scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England and may allow funding in some instances for four years.
Frazier, 20, of Laurel, Maryland, a fourth-year politics honors and African-American studies major, will pursue a master of philosophy degree in comparative politics. Jackson, 21, of Little Rock, Arkansas, a fourth-year social and political thought major, will pursue a master of philosophy degree in International Relations.
Frazier said she was very surprised when she heard the Rhodes announcement.
“I’m not sure how anyone could have spent 24 hours with so many wonderful candidates and have believed they were a ‘shoe-in’ for the scholarship,” she said. “I feel very blessed to have this opportunity and the feeling of being blessed — in my family, in my friends, in my various communities at UVA, in the favor I’ve been lucky enough to have been shown in this process and throughout my life — is the one that I felt and feel most strongly.”
Jackson said she got emotional when she heard her name called.
“I didn’t expect it,” Jackson said. “There were so many incredible finalists and I felt so thankful to get to know them in the almost four hours we waited while the committee deliberated. The announcement felt like crossing the finish line of a really long marathon.”
While at UVA, Frazier has concentrated on issues of race and justice.
“My thesis revolves broadly around how conceptions of justice and legality differ along racial lines,” Frazier said. “My broader interests revolve around how people come to form, and then act on, their political ideologies. I hope that in coming to understand these things, I will be better able to bridge the communication gap in politics and organizing.”
Jackson’s research focuses on the intersection of the news media and humanitarianism and how to raise awareness of suffering in conflict zones through media engagement.
“I have worked in both journalism and humanitarianism and I have identified significant gaps in efforts to accurately report on and raise awareness for human suffering in conflict zones,” Jackson said. “In a resource-scarce media environment, I want to understand how humanitarians working in conflict zones can facilitate better foreign correspondence to more accurately shape public opinion and international policy in the United States and the United Kingdom.”
Frazier, a Lawn resident, is a Thomas J. and Hillary D. Baltimore Jefferson Scholar and an Echols Scholar. She was the president and political action chair of Black Student Alliance; senior resident and resident advisor for Housing and Residence Life; and a moderator for Sustained Dialogue. She is a member of the Raven Society and a former member of the Black Voices Gospel Choir. She was a speaker at TEDx Charlottesville 2016.
Frazier wants to use her education and experience to communicate with people who have different views.
“Hopefully I will be able to use what I know on the campaign trail and in helping form campaign strategies,” Frazier said. “More broadly, I think — and, as this most recent presidential election has shown — that it is essential for people to really learn how to talk and relate to each other if we are to be a nation that works and will continue to work for everyone.”