Wamala wins Rhodes Scholarship

Blog: Villanovan
The Villanovan

Every year, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, when everyone in the country is preparing for food and football, the new, highly anticipated and esteemed American Rhodes Scholar class is selected. This year one of Villanova’s own students, senior Jessica Wamala, was elected as the third Villanova student ever to become an American Rhodes Scholar.

The American Rhodes Scholarships are notably one of the oldest and most honored fellowship awards in the world. Each year, only 32 young Americans are selected for the new class through a process representative of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Rhodes Trust provides scholars with full financial support to pursue any degree of choice at the University of Oxford.

“When my name was called first, I wanted to scream,” said Wamala. “But I held it in until I left the room. It is such an honor to be listed among the ranks of change agents like National Security Advisor Susan Rice and President Bill Clinton.”

Rhodes Scholars are not only chosen for their exceptional academic achievements and success, but also for their outstanding character, their commitment to those around them and to the common good and their potentiality as successful leaders in their future career paths. Wamala excels in all of these categories.

Wamala graduated magna cum laude from Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in May 2013, majoring in political science, Arab and Islamic studies and global interdisciplinary studies. She is currently pursuing a M.A. in political science at the University.

Over the past few years, Wamala has earned multiple awards for her incredible academic and leadership performances, including the Harry S. Truman award and the Pamela Harriman Foreign Service Fellowship both in 2012.

She was also nominated as a Rangel Scholar and served as a political intern at the United States Embassy Belgrade in Serbia and the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

Beyond the classroom, Wamala is a member of Phi Beta Kappa—the National Honors Fraternity for Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences—and she plays on Villanova’s Division 1 Women’s Basketball team.

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