Q&A: Clayton Aldern ’13, Rhodes scholar

Sam Heft-Luthy
The Brown Daily Herald

What was the selection process like?
It’s quite intense. First, you need to learn about it. I wasn’t even under the impression that this was a thing I could apply for a few months ago. First, it’s a matter of getting the Brown nomination. You work on your application starting in May, turn it in to Brown the beginning of August. There’s that initial process: whether you do or do not receive the Brown stamp of approval.

You need eight letters of recommendation, then you apply to the national level and then you do or do not get an interview. I applied through Minnesota — you can either apply through the geographical locality where your college is or where your hometown is.

It’s the most intimidating thing I’ve ever done in my life. These people are more or less deciding your future. You have seven people all firing questions at you. All seven people are extremely successful. They’re all Rhodes Scholars ­— well, the chair of the committee is not — and giants in their fields, asking relatively difficult questions. What was nice was the questions did seem to focus on my application. For the most part, they were asking me things that I knew about.

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