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November 23, 2011

Pitt garners seventh Rhodes

Cory Rodgers

Cory Rodgers

Cory J. Rodgers, who has been working toward a BPhil degree in Africana studies and the history and philosophy of science in the University Honors College and the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, as well as toward a BS degree in biological sciences, has been named a 2012 Rhodes Scholar.

Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest of the international study awards available to U.S. students, support two or three years of study at the University of Oxford, England. This year, Rodgers was one of 32 students awarded a Rhodes.

“The entire pool of Rhodes interviewees was extremely impressive, so I certainly didn’t have any reason to expect to win,” Rodgers told the University Times. “When I heard my name, I went from tired and anxious to shocked and dazed.”

In April, Rodgers was named Pitt’s inaugural recipient of the Samuel Huntington Public Service Award, allowing him to spend this year in Tanzania assisting people living with HIV and AIDS.

He said it was impossible to pinpoint a primary mentor from among his many influential Pitt contacts. “I will say that Pitt’s Africana studies department, as well as the African studies program led by Dr. Macrina Lelei, had a huge impact on my global outlook. I was taught to question everything without becoming a cynic.”

Rodgers said that if he had not won the Rhodes Scholarship he would have attended medical school at Tulane, where he had been accepted. “But it just become more and more apparent to me that I needed to understand a lot more about health care beyond technical training in medical treatment before seeking an MD, especially since I want to work in public health outside the U.S. Among other things, I want to understand how large health programs and policies relate to the reality of health activities in local communities.”

Rodgers plans to work as a field clinician and a public health worker, with his ultimate goal to obtain a leadership position in the World Health Organization.

Honors College Dean Edward Stricker said, “Cory Rodgers has the extraordinary curiosity and drive that characterize the finest undergraduate students at the University. He has sought opportunities, both at Pitt and abroad, in which he could explore disease modeling, administration of palliative care and health policy, and his graduate work in medical anthropology at Oxford will further that education.”

Rodgers, a first-generation university graduate from Somerset, is the seventh Pitt recipient to win a Rhodes.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 44 Issue 7

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