SEATTLE — Three young people from Washington state and one from Oregon are among this year’s group of 32 Rhodes Scholars from the United States.
About 80 scholars are selected annually from around the world. This year’s group was selected from 857 applicants endorsed by 327 colleges and universities.
The award pays all expenses for study at Oxford University in England.
o Katherine Warren of Bainbridge Island:
Warren graduated from Harvard in May and is working in Washington, D.C., in the Department of Health and Human Services. She is interested in public health and eventually plans to go to medical school.
“I see this as both a very big honor, but also a commitment,” Warren said Sunday. “I’ve worked with a lot of incredible people around the world. I want to make sure this is working in their favor as well as mine.”
Warren, 23, who went to high school at Lakeside, gives that Seattle private school credit for her personal interest in global citizenship. She grew up next to an Indian reservation and spent the summer after her freshman year in college working for the Indian Health Service on a Navaho reservation.
“I met a lot of great people. It got me hooked,” she said. She has continued to work in Native American communities, with a focus on mental health and suicide prevention.
Her work at DSHS involves making sure the benefits of health care reform and other federal health polices reach historically disenfranchised groups.
“It’s a fascinating time to be there. It’s great working on the things I hold closest to my heart,” Warren said.
She will use the scholarship to seek a master’s in public health.
o Andrew Lea of Richland:
Lea is a senior at Harvard studying history and science. His academic focus is the social and ethical implications of science and medicine.
o Suzanna Fritzberg of Lake Forest Park:
Fritzberg is a senior at Yale majoring in women’s, gender and sexuality studies. She has worked as a poverty policy intern at the Roosevelt Institute and has interned with the public defender’s office in New Orleans.
She plans to study comparative social policy at Oxford, examining the differences between welfare programs in other countries and hoping to bring some lessons learned back to the U.S. to improve this country’s programs for the poor.
“At this point I’m just excited to see where Oxford is going to take me,” said Fritzberg, who has never studied abroad and hasn’t traveled much.
She spent all her life before Yale in a suburb north of Seattle and is a graduate of Shorecrest High School.
“This is just a huge opportunity to learn more about the world,” Fritzberg said.
o Joshua Aiken of Eugene, Ore.:
Aiken is a senior at Washington University in St. Louis, where he is majoring in American culture studies and political science. He is interested in human rights advocacy and has done work on ethnic conflict in Ireland and Germany.
Aiken moved around a lot as a kid, from New Mexico to Tennessee, California, Texas, Iowa and Arizona, and his parents recently moved to Oregon.
“I think it made me really aware of the world and conscious of what identity meant in different places,” he said.
His interest in identity, race and gender solidified last summer while working in a human rights program at a refugee camp in Berlin.
While in Germany, he met people from the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe who were persecuted because of their identities and couldn’t live openly and freely.
His goal in life is to help people in other places have the kind of freedom he has experienced around race and gender issues.
Aiken will be worked toward a master’s degree in sociology and demography at Oxford and plans to go to law school after Oxford.
He said he’s looking forward to learning a lot in England, both inside and outside of class.
“I know I’ll learn a lot in the classroom, but I’ll learn so much more from the relationships I build,” Aiken said.