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Villanova’s Jessica Wamala receives prestigious Rhodes Scholarship

Published on November 26, 2013


Jessica Wamala

Jessica Wamala

List of NCAA student-athlete 2014 Rhodes Scholars

From Villanova:

Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, on Saturday announced the names of the 32 American men and women chosen as Rhodes Scholars representing the United States. Jessica Wamala (Milford, N.H.) became the third Villanova University student-athlete in the institution’s history to receive the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Nnenna Lynch ’93 and Becky Spies ’95 – each a former Academic All-American and track and field/cross country standout at Villanova – earned Rhodes Scholarships in 1992 and 1994, respectively. 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.

Committed to addressing social issues, Wamala has learned first-hand about diplomacy as a Rangel Scholar and political intern at the US Embassy Belgrade in Serbia and at the State Department Office’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. She has received numerous awards for her scholarship and leadership including the 2012 Harry S. Truman Scholarship and the Pamela Harriman Foreign Service Fellowship, and she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa – the National Honors Fraternity for Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Wamala has also done extensive volunteer work with Philadelphia’s homeless. She plans to do the M.Phil. in modern middle eastern studies at Oxford, in preparation for a career in the Foreign Service as a political officer.

“The Rhodes Scholarship is a prestigious honor recognized world-wide, and we are proud of all that Jessica [Wamala] has accomplished in becoming Villanova’s third Rhodes Scholar,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “Beyond her many academic accolades, Jessica possesses tremendous leadership and a commitment to creating positive social change in the world around her. She personifies the values of a Villanova education and we are excited to see what the future holds for her.”

Outside of the classroom, Wamala is a member of Villanova’s Division I Women’s Basketball program. A former walk-on player who earned a scholarship, she serves as co-captain of the 2013-14 Villanova team. Wamala has been named a Big East Conference Academic All-Star for three consecutive seasons.

“There is no one more deserving of this prestigious honor than Jessica Wamala,” said Villanova head women’s basketball coach Harry Perretta. “Jess is a student-athlete in every sense of the word. Her hard work and attention to detail with her studies is second to none. From a basketball standpoint, the leadership skills and intangibles that Jess brings to the team are invaluable. We are all very excited and truly happy for her.”

The Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902. The 32 Rhodes Scholars chosen from the U.S. will join an international group of Scholars chosen from 14 other jurisdictions around the world. In addition to the 32 Americans,



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