The Rhodes Scholarship is the first large-scale program of international scholarships, allowing students to study at the University of Oxford. It is one of the most renowned and competitive awards a college student can receive. While there are certainly controversies surrounding its founder, Cecil Rhodes, and the history of the award, no one can deny the prestige that comes from being awarded one of the 83 scholarships presented each year.
In 1907 long-time Howard professor and dean, Alain Locke, was the first African-American recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship, three years after the first award was given. In 2015 Howard announced a finalist for the (2016) award and Morehouse had a student who was named a Rhodes Scholar. This year, Hampton announced two finalists (the first for an HBCU) and Howard student, Cameron Clarke, became the university's fourth Rhodes Scholar.
Howard's first Rhodes Scholar was Mark Alleyne in 1986. Thirteen years later, Carla Peterman became the second followed by Marianna Ofosu in 2003. Mr. Clarke's selection has made Howard the top producer of HBCU Rhodes Scholars.
Clarke, a biology and community health major, has taken advantage of a wide variety of opportunities while at Howard. He has served as researcher at Howard's W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory assisting in developing a database to combine information for the Cobb collection and the New York City African Burial Ground; participated in faculty-led research at Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia and studied at Columbia University’s School of Public Health. Recently, Clarke conducted research at the Center for Cancer Research at NIH. He currently works as an intern in the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Clarke plans to study for a master of science degree in primary health care at Oxford.
Of his experience at Howard he has stated "You have a lot of professors within your departments who will allow you to conduct independent research and gain publication experience as an undergraduate, which is amazing for both graduate school applications and your own intellectual development.”
Howard University junior, Simeon Kakpovi, a computer information systems major was among those named a finalist round in this year's application cycle.