Notre Dame’s Most Recent Rhodes Scholar

Emily Mediate - 2016 Rhodes Scholar

The Rhodes Scholarship, founded in 1902 in memory of the South African diamond magnate Cecil Rhodes, is perhaps the most prestigious academic award in the world. Awarded to fewer than 100 students per year, the scholarship for study at Oxford University, is fiercely competitive.

Emily Mediate, a 2015 Notre Dame graduate, is one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars selected for the Class of 2016. A native of Colorado Springs, Mediate was selected from a pool of 869 candidates. Notre Dame’s 17th Rhodes Scholar, she will begin her studies at Oxford University in October, pursuing a master’s degree in evidence-based social intervention and policy evaluation.

“We are tremendously proud of Emily Mediate for this well- deserved honor,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president. “Congratulations also to the faculty who taught Emily and to the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement who put in countless hours assisting Emily and other candidates for the Rhodes and other scholars’ programs.”

Mediate worked closely through the application process with the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement, which assists students and alumni with fellowships applications.

According to the Rhodes Trust, along with academic excellence, “a Rhodes Scholar should also have great personal energy, ambition for impact, and an ability to work with others and to achieve one’s goals. In addition, a Rhodes Scholar should be committed to make a strong difference for good in the world, be concerned for the welfare of others, and be conscious of inequities. And finally, a Rhodes Scholar should show great promise of leadership.”

At Notre Dame, Mediate was a Dean’s Fellow in the College of Arts and Letters and a Kellogg Institute International Scholar. She graduated with degrees in Africana studies and pre-health studies, and a minor in international development studies.

Passionate about global health issues, particularly in the sub-Saharan region of Africa, Mediate is a Kellogg Institute postgraduate International Development Fellow with the Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI) in Kampala, Uganda, where she is evaluating a USAID-funded program that aims to improve the well-being of children in HIV-affected families.

Throughout her Notre Dame career, Mediate used her quantitative and qualitative skills to conduct global AIDS relief research culminating in a senior thesis that presented three ways in which international HIV/AIDS funding has constrained local efforts, summarizing research she completed in Uganda, Sweden, and the Netherlands. She also conducted research on non-governmental organizations in Uganda, interned in a clinic there and assessed Ugandan health care facilities.

As a Kellogg International Scholar, she assisted sociology assistant professor Terry McDonnell with research on HIV/ AIDS prevention campaigns for three years. She also was a research assistant to chemistry associate professor Marya Lieberman on the Paper Analytic Device (PAD) project and a research assistant to sociology professor Christian Smith on the Science of Generosity project. In the fall of 2013, she studied in London where she interned with Save the Children U.K. At Notre Dame, she also volunteered with Imani Unidad, an AIDS ministry group in South Bend.

“I am thrilled to be named as a 2016 Rhodes Scholar,” Mediate said. “I am especially grateful to my peers and faculty advisors who supported my personal and academic growth along the way. While studying in the U.K., I can only hope to adequately live up to Notre Dame’s mission of applying scholarly activity to the pursuit of the common good and with concern for the poverty and injustice that plagues our world today. This underlying motivation is the greatest lesson that I will take with me from Notre Dame and apply during my time at Oxford.”

Along with numerous other grants and awards that she earned during her collegiate career, Mediate was chosen as a Public Service Scholar by the B.A. Rudolph Foundation, an honor that supported her State Department internship in the summer of 2015, and received a Scholarship for Service from the Margaret M. Beeler Memorial Foundation.