Black Rhodes Scholars want to help students excel

Florida Courier

Three successful Black Floridians have organized the Emerging Scholars Project, which will bring together representatives from some of the nation’s elite scholarship and fellowship programs, national speakers and collegiate advisers to help students in the state.

altThe Emerging Scholars Project is accepting applications from college sophomores, juniors and seniors with an interest in applying for elite programs, including the Rhodes, Fulbright and Marshall Scholarship programs.

An event scheduled July 30 in Gainesville will be a day of in-depth dialogue, interactive seminars and resources aimed at empowering Florida students to apply for scholarship programs.

It is being organized by Myron Rolle, Garrett Johnson and Jamal Sowell.

Rolle: ‘Education Game Changer’

Rolle, a 2009 Rhodes Scholar, was drafted by the NFL’s Tennessee Titans in 2010 after postponing his football career in order to complete a Master of Science degree in Medical Anthropology at the University of Oxford in London. A magna cum laude graduate of Florida State University, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science in two and a half years, and will attend medical school after his NFL career.

In 2010, Rolle was designated the second smartest professional athlete by Sporting News and an "Education Game Changer" by the Huffington Post.

"I am proud to launch this incredible program, especially following my own experiences as a Rhodes Scholar,’’ Rolle said.

"Through the Emerging Scholars Project, we not only want to empower underrepresented students to apply for competitive scholarships, but we are also hoping to identify the diamond-in the rough, with untapped potential, in an effort to inspire them to dream bigger, reach higher and apply themselves even more to achieve their goals."

A 2006 Rhodes Scholar, Johnson is as an advisor to the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where his portfolio includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti and development policy. In 2008, he was awarded the Master of Philosophy in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford.

The 2005 magna cum laude graduate of Florida State University earned a joint degree in political science and English literature, and also served as a special assistant to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Sowell currently is Special Assistant to University of Florida (UF) president Bernie Machen. As a member of the president’s cabinet, Sowell acts a strategic advisor and offers counsel and support to the president and university Board of Trustees.

He graduated with a Religion degree from UF in 2005, followed by a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Policy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2007.

A former UF student body president and university Hall of Fame inductee also was an officer in the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan, where he conducted and planned counterinsurgency operations.

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