Fil-Am Harvard student secures scholarship at Oxford
A Filipino American has been named one of the recipients of the American Rhodes Scholarship for 2024.
The accolade places Oakland native Eleanor M. Wikstrom among the nine Harvard College students set to embark on an academic journey at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom next year.
More than a university standout, Wikstrom played a pivotal role in advocating for the inclusion of the Filipino language as a course at Harvard. Her efforts were documented in an opinion piece published in The Harvard Crimson, where she highlighted the absence of a Tagalog language course at the institution.
Serving as co-president of the Harvard Philippine Forum and holding a position as an editorial chair at the Crimson, Wikstrom emphasized that the inclusion of Tagalog in the curriculum has been a longstanding goal for “the entire duration of HPF’s existence.”
Now, in a historic move, the university has already introduced the language course for the academic year 2023-24, where they welcomed its first Filipino language instructor, Lady Aileen Orsal.
Her commitment to linguistic diversity and cultural representation at Harvard echoes her broader academic interests. According to The Harvard Gazette, Eleanor M. Wikstrom is set to delve into the realms of imperial and global history, alongside a focus on United States history in Oxford.
Of particular significance is her research agenda, which probes the 20th century US system of English-only education in the Philippines as a manifestation of “epistemic colonialism.”
Wikstrom’s scholarly pursuits align with her advocacy, as she continues to champion the importance of linguistic inclusivity within academic curricula.
How important is the American Rhodes Scholarship?
The Rhodes Scholarship, established in 1902 through the will of Cecil Rhodes, is a testament to academic excellence and leadership. Covering all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford, it remains one of the most prestigious international scholarships.
The 32 scholars selected from the US this year, representing 20 colleges, include 20 women.
Harvard’s contribution to the Rhodes Scholar legacy is formidable, with the current count standing at 394 American Rhodes Scholars from the institution, with Wikstrom being part of the lineup.
As Eleanor M. Wikstrom and her fellow honorees prepare to embark on their graduate studies in October, they join a global community of scholars chosen from over 70 countries.
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