A USC alumnus is among 32 Americans to be honored with the Rhodes Scholarship, a prestigious award that grants the recipient a chance to study at the University of Oxford in England.
Oscar De Los Santos, who graduated in 2015 with a degree in political science, was one of the recipients announced by the Rhodes Trust on Nov. 19. At USC, he was a Truman Scholar and a Phi Beta Kappa member, and received USC’s Order of the Laurel and Palm, which is granted to less than 1 percent of the graduating class, according to USC News.
At Oxford, De Los Santos plans to work toward a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Studies in Theology with a focus on Christian ethics.
“I’m the child of Mexican immigrants, an anti-hunger advocate and a former teacher and political organizer,” De Los Santos wrote in an email to The Associated Press, USC News reported. “My degree choices are a way for me to respond from a sense of moral urgency to help marginalized people,” He added that his parents “were undocumented immigrants when they came to this country, but they’re citizens now.”
During his time at USC, De Los Santos worked as an intern for the National Economic Council and the U.S. House of Representatives. He also served as the youngest Florida field organizer for President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign. After graduating, De Los Santos taught English and social studies to sixth graders at the Champion South Mountain School in Phoenix, Arizona and then went on to work as a lobbyist and manager of public policy for the Association of Arizona Food Banks.
The 32 American students will join an international group of scholars from 18 jurisdictions around the world, with a total of 95 scholars going on to pursue higher education at Oxford.