Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Rhodes Scholar, Aims To Shine Light From Her Bright Future On To Englewood

HuffPost: Chicago Impact

When the newest crop of Rhodes Scholars was announced in mid-November, the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago's South Side had good reason to cheer: its home-grown scholar Rhiana Gunn-Wright would be heading to Oxford.

The 23-year-old Yale graduate spent her childhood growing up in Englewood, a neighborhood ABC Chicago called -- with good reason -- "one of the most dangerous in the city." After early years on the South Side, Gunn-Wright went to boarding school in Aurora before heading to college out east.

"I loved Englewood as a place," Gunn-Wright told Fox News. "It was my home, and a lot of wonderful people, like you all, live here. But it's hard to remember how awesome you are when there are all these statistics about how many people get murdered in Englewood or people never go anywhere." She added to the Sun-Times that she is also aware Englewood is also home to many people she describes as "wonderful and smart and loving."

At Oxford, Gunn-Wright told the Sun-Times she'll devote a portion of work to the issues affecting her embattled neighborhood, with plans to study comparative social policy according to the Tribune.

"It does make me sad when people sort of hold me up as this giant exception, and how did this happen when I know that there's so much goodness there, that it shouldn't be unexpected at all," Rhiana said to Fox Chicago.

The Rhodes Scholar said she felt "humble and grateful," but acknowledged the tough task ahead.

"I have a lot of work to do," Gunn-Wright told ABC. "So I just have to keep reminding myself that this is not the end. It's incredible but it's only the beginning. And it's just a stepping stone to do the work that I really want to do in the world."

Click here to view the accompanying news broadcast video.