Three Women Fill Top AARS Officer Roles

For the first time since this prestigious alumni organization was founded in 1907, the Association of American Rhodes Scholars (AARS) elected three women to fill its top leadership positions.
September 30, 2020

For the first time since this prestigious alumni organization was founded in 1907, the Association of American Rhodes Scholars (AARS) elected three women to fill its top leadership positions. Nnenna Lynch and Janice R. Ugaki, Co-Presidents, and Emelia Spencer Probasco, Vice-President, were unanimously elected by the AARS Board of Directors on Saturday, September 26, 2020. All three women are Rhodes Scholars.

The Rhodes Scholarships (http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/) were created in 1902 and are the oldest, and regarded by many, as the most prestigious graduate fellowships in the world, providing students from the USA and 44 other countries with postgraduate education at Oxford University.

Not until an Act of Parliament was it possible for women to become Rhodes Scholars in 1979. For the past several years, the 32 Rhodes Scholars selected annually in the United States have been roughly equal numbers of men and women, and in the new 2020 class, more than half identify as women. No woman has ever before served as AARS President since its founding 113 years ago.

AARS Co-President Nnenna Lynch is the Founder & CEO of Xylem Projects, a mission-driven real estate investment and development firm centered in the greater NYC Tri-state area. Among her many professional, civic and athletic distinctions, including an amateur career as a stand-out middle-distance runner, she serves on the Boards of Villanova University, the New York Road Runners, and was a senior advisor to former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She received her MA in Anthropology from Oxford University and a BA in Sociology at Villanova.

AARS Co-President Janice R. Ugaki is the Co-Founder and Chairperson of Firmseek, a strategic marketing and technology company based in Washington D.C. Prior to launching the company, she worked in the corporate departments of law firms in Tokyo, New York, Boston and Salt Lake City, and later as an adjunct professor at the University of Utah. Janice currently serves on the University of Utah’s National Advisory Council, the Boards of Intermountain Healthcare and Zions Bank, and, as a black belt in taekwondo, teaches martial arts to disadvantaged youth. Janice received her JD from Harvard Law School, read for a DPhil in Japanese Politics at Oxford University, and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Utah with a BS in Finance, a BA in Political Science, a minor in Japanese.

AARS Vice President Emelia “Emmy” Spencer Probasco is the Communications Department Head, Chief Communications Officer of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). Prior to joining APL, Emmy served in the U.S. Navy as a surface warfare officer aboard a guided missile destroyer and then as speechwriter to the Chief of Naval Operations in the Pentagon. Emmy earned an MS in Forced Migration and an MS in Economics and Social History from Oxford University, and a BS in Political Science from the U.S. Naval Academy.

The AARS Treasurer Andrew Park and Secretary Nicholas W. Allard were re-elected to continue in their positions.

Scholars