Sarah Smierciak (Weinberg ‘11) was one of 32 Americans to win a Rhodes Scholarship in 2011, the Rhodes Trust announced Saturday. Smierciak is the first Northwestern alumna to win the prestigious award since 2009.
Founded in 1902 by British empire builder and philanthropist Cecil Rhodes, the scholarship funds 83 students from Germany or countries ruled or formerly ruled by Britain to pursue a degree or degrees of their choosing at Oxford University.
Smierciak currently lives in Cairo, Egypt and works as an educational consultant at a special school for street children supported by the UN. She will pursue a master’s in philosophy in development studies at Oxford, with the goal of researching economic development in the Middle East.
The Rhodes scholarship is notable for its requirement of “physical vigor” among winners; all Rhodes scholars are athletic to some degree. Smierciak is a triathlete.
Smierciak and other Rhodes Scholars from her class will matriculate at Oxford in the autumn of 2012.