LOS ANGELES (AP) — Miles Unterreiner couldn’t believe that he was selected as a Rhodes Scholar. Now, he can’t wait to study at England’s Oxford University next October and launch a career to advance human rights around the world.
The Stanford University graduate has spent the past year working at a public interest think tank in Santa Barbara, his hometown. He was among three young people from California who were awarded the prestigious scholarships on Sunday. Overall, 32 winners from the United States were chosen.
The scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford.
“I feel very lucky to have been selected,” said Unterreiner, who hopes to become an international human rights lawyer and judge.
Unterreiner, who will study international relations at Oxford, earned his bachelor’s and master’s in history from Stanford University in 2012 and 2013. He was a member of the varsity track and field and cross country teams. He also worked for The Stanford Daily, where he was a writer, columnist and opinions managing editor.
Another scholarship recipient, Zarko Perovic, who’s a 2012 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, also wants to pursue international relations at Oxford. Perovic learned about war crimes while growing up in Serbia before he knew their meaning, according to his biography posted on the Rhodes Trust website.
While at Berkeley, he worked as a research assistant at the War Crimes Studies Center and focused on the Cambodian genocide. After graduation, the San Diego resident worked at the State Department and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation.
The final California recipient, Aurora Griffin of Westlake Village plans to study theology and Christian ethics. She’s a senior at Harvard University, where she’s studying the classics. She heads the Harvard Catholic Student Association and founded a fellowship for Christian pre-medical students. She previously spent a term at Oxford studying philosophy.
Griffin said she was waiting in a conference room after interviewing with a law firm when she got the news.
“It was surreal. I was overwhelmed, honored, and humbled, as I still am,” she said, adding that, “It’s sinking in, and I am just so excited to go to Oxford.”
The winners were selected from 857 applicants endorsed by 327 different colleges and universities.
Rhodes scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. Winners are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among other attributes.
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