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Gareth Rhodes

College: City College
Awards: Truman Scholarship, 2011

Heading into Public Service

Gareth Rhodes, of The City College of New York and the CUNY Baccalaureate Program, CUNY's individualized degree, is one of two CUNY students in 2011 to win a highly competitive, $30,000 Harry S. Truman Scholarship for graduate study leading to careers in government or public service.

The other is junior Ayodele Oti, of Macaulay Honors College at The City College of New York and the CUNY Baccalaureate Program, like him an honors student, Colin Powell Fellow and New York Life Scholar.

Each year, the Harry S. Truman Foundation, funded by Congress, awards one grant in each state plus 15 at-large; this year, the foundation received 602 applications from 264 colleges and universities, selected 197 candidates from 134 colleges and universities as finalists then selected the 65 finalists after personal interviews. Selection is based on a combination of career and graduate study interests, community service and academic achievement.

Rhodes studies political economy and public policy. His advanced placement credits from high school and courses taken in two intersession study-abroad programs enabled him to complete his undergraduate degree in 2011 in only three years. Rhodes, who has a 3.8 GPA, also received a Gilman Scholarship, which he used to study Chinese business and Mandarin at the University of Shanghai. He also studied in Buenos Aires on a Study/Travel Opportunities for CUNY Students scholarship.

In addition, he is in the Skadden, Arps Honors Program in legal studies, interned with Andrew Cuomo's attorney general and gubernatorial staffs, the White House scheduling office and Rep. Charles Rangel's Harlem office.

"From these internships, I have gained an appreciation and interest in the role of government and public policy in the livelihoods of ordinary Americans," says Rhodes, who grew up in Kingston, N.Y., and lives on Manhattan's Upper West Side. "I am honored to receive the Truman Scholarship and join a network of similarly interested peers who are committed to public service work. I am thankful for the encouragement, support and guidance I was given at CCNY during the application process, particularly from those in the Honors Center."

CCNY President Lisa Staiano-Coico says that "having two Truman Scholars in one year puts City College in very elite company. We are exceptionally proud of Ayodele and Gareth and congratulate them on their stunning achievements. They are amazing people and fitting heirs to the long legacy of leadership in public service at City College that includes Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (ret.), '58; Justice Felix Frankfurter, 1902; and Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, '72."