Northwestern alumna Sarah Smierciak receives 2012 Rhodes Scholarship

Chris Meyer
The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern alumna Sarah Smierciak (WCAS '11) received a 2012 Rhodes Scholarship on Saturday and will pursue a Masters of Philosophy in development studies at Oxford University, according to a University press release.

The Rhodes Trust, established in 1902, awards 32 scholarships annually to American students who distinguish themselves through commitment to academic excellence, athletic achievement, devotion to the common good and capacity for leadership, according to the Trust's website.

Smierciak is the first NU Rhodes Scholar since 2009.

Smierciak, who double-majored in history and Middle East language and civilization at NU , was elected to Phi Beta Kappa during her junior year and eventually graduated summa cum laude.

Although she said she hopes to use her Oxford degree to work in Middle Eastern development, Smierciak only discovered her interest in the region while studying at Northwestern.

"It's the typical Northwestern story," said Diana Smierciak, Sarah's mother. "She went in pre-med, and then she took a class on the Middle East, just because she was curious, and it captivated her."

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