You are here

Five NCAA student-athletes among 2015 Rhodes Scholars

They are among 32 American students selected for the elite award, the oldest and best-known scholarship for international study

Five NCAA student-athletes are among the 32 American students who will represent the United States as 2015 Rhodes Scholars.

The Rhodes Scholarships, among the world’s most prestigious, provide awardees a fully funded opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in England for at least two years. The scholarships are valued at $50,000 per year.

The NCAA student-athletes receiving the award are:

  • Alexander F. Coccia of Columbus, Ohio, graduated in May from the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in Africana studies and peace studies. He was a member of the Notre Dame fencing team that won the NCAA National Collegiate Fencing Championships team title in 2011. At Oxford, Coccia plans to pursue a master’s degree in comparative social policy.
  • Rebecca A. Esselstein of Dayton, Ohio, is a senior at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where she is majoring in astronautical engineering. She participates in cross country and track and field and is a two-time Academic All-American. Esselstein hopes to become an astronaut and plans to pursue a doctorate in astrophysics at Oxford.
  • David S. Moore of Holland, Michigan, earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in May from the University of Michigan. He competed on the men’s swimming and diving team that won the 2013 NCAA Division I National Championships team title. He also participated on the campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. At Oxford, Moore plans to pursue a master’s degree in computer science and a master’s in business administration.
  • Rachel A. Skokowski of Palo Alto, California, a senior at Princeton University who is majoring in French. A three-sport athlete who competes in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, she plans a career in art curation. At Oxford, she will pursue a master’s degree in modern languages.
  • Matthew J. Townsend of Chappaqua, New York, a senior at Yale University who is majoring in molecular, cellular and developmental biology. A starter on the men’s basketball team, he plans to use his time at Oxford pursuing a master’s degree in medical anthropology.

A total of 80 Rhodes Scholars are selected worldwide, including the 32 from the United States. The criteria for selection were established by the will of Cecil Rhodes and include academic excellence, great personal energy, ambition for impact and an ability to work with others to achieve goals. The Rhodes Trust announced the winners on Saturday.

“These basic characteristics are directed at fulfilling Mr. Rhodes’ hopes that the Rhodes Scholars would make an important and positive contribution throughout the world,” Elliot F. Gerson, American secretary of the Rhodes Trust, said in the announcement of the scholarships. “In Rhodes’ words, his scholars should ‘esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim.’ ”

More complete information about each of the 2015 Rhodes Scholars can be found in the Rhodes Trust announcement here.