The latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 21 women, the most ever in a single Rhodes class, and almost half of the 32 winners are immigrants or first-generation Americans.
Among the 2019 recipients is Riley Tillitt, a senior at Yale University, from Eden Prairie.
Tillitt, double majoring in History, and Ethics, Politics and Economics, is interested in reforming U.S. criminal justice and drug policies and has engaged in deep public service related to criminal justice.
He served as a member of the board of directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy in Washington, DC, and as the president of the Yale chapter. He was also the President of the Yale Model Congress and Director-General of the Yale Model United Nations China. He served as a policy advisor for Governor-elect Ned Lamont, focusing on drug policy.
At Oxford, Riley will read for an MPP in Public Policy and an M.Sc. in Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Tillitt wrote about the legal and healthcare systems’ inability to slow the growth of opioid overdose deaths after losing his brother Max, one of several victims who died in recent years from drugs sold by convicted heroin dealer Beverly Burrell.
The Rhodes Trust on Sunday announced the 32 men and women chosen from a group of 880 applicants endorsed by 281 U.S. colleges and universities for studies beginning next fall at Oxford University in England.
The organization says this is the first year of eligibility for the scholarship for those covered by an Obama-era program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that shields young immigrants from deportation, and that a DACA recipient from Harvard is a new Rhodes scholar.
Duke, Princeton and Yale each had three Rhodes scholars.
Also selected was an international group of scholars representing more than 64 countries.