A College of St. Benedict graduate who studies forced migration and genocide has been named a Rhodes scholar.
Rachel E. Mullin, of Humboldt, S.D., is among 32 men and women who won the prestigious scholarship to study at Oxford University in England next fall. At Oxford, Mullin plans to pursue postgraduate degrees in refugee and forced migration studies and in global governance and diplomacy.
Mullin, who recently returned from an 11-month stay in Malaysia, where she taught English as a Fulbright scholar, said she is "very much in shock" after learning about her award Sunday.
Mullin, 23, became interested in studying genocide when Sudanese refugees settled in South Dakota during the war in Darfur.
"That just brought the story to our own backyard," she said by phone Monday.
During her time at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., Mullin worked on various research projects and spent a summer in Bosnia. She interviewed Bosnians, Serbs and Croats to support two undergraduate theses on the 1990s genocide in Bosnia. In 2014, she received an undergraduate degree in political science and history.
She is also a Truman scholar and focused her work on understanding and combating the causes of genocide and forced migration.
Mullin applied for the Rhodes scholarship after deciding to continue research on refugees.
"The Rhodes scholarship is a wonderful way to both study what I want to do but also meet an incredible network of young people who are all really inspired to work for change in the world in various ways," Mullin said.
Mullin wants to work at refugee camps, and then work for the U.S. State Department doing refugee policy work.
Before she leaves for Oxford, Mullin plans to stay at home with family.
"I've spent pretty much the last five years being as far away from home as possible," she said. "I'm excited to spend some time back home and re-getting to know the place I grew up in."
Mullin is the second College of St. Benedict graduate to be named a Rhodes scholar. Laura McGrane, a 1991 graduate, was named a scholar in 1992.