Two Indian-Americans are among 32 Rhodes Scholars of 2019

Kushal T. Kadakia, a student at Duke University, won the Rhodes Scholarship for 2019. (Photo:

Two Indian-Americans, one from Colorado and another from Texas, are among the 32 Rhodes Scholars announced Nov. 17.

They were selected from among 880 applicants nominated by their colleges and universities. Both citizens and legal residents in the U.S. are eligible for the prestigious scholarship.

They will begin their Studies at Oxford, U.K., October 2019. The prestigious scholarship.

The Rhodes Scholarships given to American students selected from 16 Districts into which the U.S. is broken up.

Kushal T. Kadakia was selected from District 8 in Texas. He is a senior at Duke University with a double major in public policy and biology with a minor in global health. He is a Truman Scholar, has a perfect academic record, and was a Rothermere summer scholar at Oxford. He earned five A+ grades in independent research projects across four different departments, according to the biography posted by Rhodes on its website.

As a student leader, Kadakia has been chairman of the Honor Council, student body vice president, a voting member of the Duke Board of Trustees, and led the successful charge to make the Duke campus smoke-free. He is also a much-published writer on health policy topics, and worked in the office of the North Carolina Governor on Medicaid transformation.

He will do the M.Phil. in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy at Oxford.

Serene K. Singh of the University of Colorado Boulder, won the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for 2019. (Photo: Singh’s profile picture from Facebook account)

Serene K. Singh from District 13 is from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder, with majors in Political Science and Journalism, and a minor in Leadership Studies, and the first from that University to win since 1993, according to the press release.

A Truman Scholar, she is Chief Justice of the Student Government Supreme Court, Founder and Chair of the National Sikh Youth Program, founder of a non-profit to empower at-risk women, co-chair of the Colorado Youth Advisory Council, and President of the University’s Indian Student Association.

Her thesis is on media representation of Sikhs. She is currently an intern for the Obama Foundation where she works with Michelle Obama and created the Global Girls Ambassador Program.

At Oxford, Singh plans to do masters degrees in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation. Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, is quoted in the press release describing  this year’s class as once again,  reflecting “the extraordinary diversity that characterizes the United States.”

Almost half of the winners are immigrants themselves or first generation Americans. One is an undocumented American whose immigration status is covered under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This is the first year in which DACA recipients were eligible for the Scholarship. The class overall is majority minority, as it was last year, and the 21 women are the greatest number ever elected in an American Rhodes class. These Scholars plan to study a wide range of fields across the social sciences, biological and medical sciences, physical sciences and mathematics, and the humanities. “They are certain to enrich our future,” Gerson said.

Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England and may allow funding in some instances for four years.

The 32 Rhodes Scholars chosen from the United States will join an international group of Scholars chosen from 23 other jurisdictions (more than 60 countries) around the world, and for the first time, two Scholars from any country in the world without its own Scholarship. In addition to the 32 Americans, Scholars are also selected from Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, the nations of the Commonwealth Caribbean, East Africa, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Southern Africa (South Africa, plus Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland), Syria/Jordan/Lebanon/Palestine, the United Arab Emirates, West Africa (including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, the island of Saint Helena, Sierra Leone, São Tomé and Principe, and Togo), Zambia, and Zimbabwe. One hundred Rhodes Scholars will be selected worldwide this year, including several who have attended American colleges and universities but who are not U.S. citizens and who have applied through their home country.






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