Local Rhodes scholars to study public policy, financial tech at Oxford


Two Georgetown University graduate students are among a group of nearly three dozen Americans selected for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship’s upcoming class.

Two Georgetown University students are among a group of nearly three dozen Americans selected for the prestigious Rhodes scholarships’ upcoming class.

Atharv Gupta and Isabella Turilli will begin their graduate studies at the University of Oxford in England next fall. The 2023 scholarship class, whose selection process was held online for a third consecutive year, welcomes 32 American scholars seeking degrees in social sciences, the humanities, and biological and physical sciences.

Gupta, a 21-year-old student from Fairfax County, Virginia, studies science, technology and international affairs at Georgetown. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in data science and another in social science and the internet.

“To be honest, all of this still doesn’t really feel real,” Gupta told WTOP. “My big takeaway is that if you find what you’re passionate about, and you really care about it, and you go all-in, the path will form itself one way or the other. It’s just a matter of trusting that, and not worrying too much about outcomes.”

Over the next few years, Gupta hopes to unfurl a career in providing technological solutions that promote financial inclusion for developing nations.

“Financial inclusion is something that I really care a lot about; I think it’s something that we really take for granted here in the United States,” Gupta said. “I’m interested in how technology can fast track that process … Can it help a country like Nigeria access the same financial structures that govern the rest of the world?”

Turilli, a 2022 graduate of Georgetown with a focus on global health diplomacy and who works as a researcher for the Council on Foreign Relations, will study public policy during her two-year scholarship.

“COVID-19 was able to fundamentally reorient my path — a year of struggle, service and much suffering has pushed me towards a career in global health policy making,” Turilli said in a Georgetown University news release. “I see the Rhodes Scholarship as the vehicle through which I can work towards state cooperation in global health governance.”

The scholars’ financial expenses for two to three years of study — averaging about $75,000 per year — are covered by the Rhodes Trust, a British charity. The scholarships were created in 1902, with the inaugural class entering Oxford in 1903 and the first U.S. Rhodes scholars arriving in 1904.

WTOP’s Kristi King and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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