Algonquin late bloomber now a Rhodes Scholar

Kimberly Pohl and Elena Ferrarin
Daily Herald

When English major Alexis Brown realized there was no place where she could submit her undergraduate essays for publication, she decided there was only one solution — create one from scratch.

The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism, the nation's first journal aimed at giving undergraduate students of literature a platform to showcase their essays, published its first yearly issue in May 2011.

That propelled the 21-year-old Algonquin native, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to be named a Rhodes Scholar for 2012 — one of just 32 outstanding students from all over the nation. The scholars were selected from a pool of 830 candidates nominated by their colleges and universities, and each gets the chance to purse a degree or degrees from Oxford University in England.

“It started because I was looking for some place where I could publish work I was doing for my undergrad classes. There is no place for undergrads across the country to publish their own work,” Alexis explained. “It's kind of disheartening when you spend hours and hours on a paper, and you turn it in and one person reads it, and you never go back to it again — and no one else reads it.”

Alexis used a $3,000 leadership trust award she earned at the end of her sophomore year to work on the journal's creation throughout her junior year. She contacted literary journals, researched printing costs and assembled an editorial board composed of fellow students.

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