University of Michigan senior named 2022 Rhodes Scholar

Ann Arbor Rachel Merritt, a student at the University of Michigan, has been selected as the 2022 Rhodes Scholar.

Merit is a final year student in the College of Arts, Sciences and Arts with a double major in International Studies and Russian Language. The Grand Rapids native is one of 32 Americans to receive a prestigious scholarship from the University of Oxford.

Merritt is the University of Michigan’s 30th award-winning student since its founding in 1902. She plans to enroll in a master’s program at Oxford in Russian and Eastern European Studies. Once completed, you intend to pursue a master’s degree in Internet Social Sciences.

“These programs will allow me to deepen my understanding of the political and economic contexts in which civil society and independent media actors operate in the REES regions,” Merritt said in a statement. “They will provide me with empirical frameworks and tools to creatively advocate for the promotion of democracy and freedom of expression in these areas through the open internet.


“I am keen to work with NGOs located at this thematic and regional intersection, including Internet Without Borders and the Internet Society. I also desire to work with international bodies to begin codifying free and inclusive Internet rights in internationally recognized contexts.”

This was almost the second year in a row that Rhodes Scholars were elected due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 class was chosen from a pool of 826 applicants and includes a record number of women. Of the 32 scientists, 22 are women.

Scholarships cover all expenses of study for two or three years at Oxford, and in some cases may fund up to four years of study. The group will begin their studies at Oxford in October 2022.

Four UM students are finalists for the 2022 Rhodes Scholarship.

“I am very proud of all of the finalists for the four Rhodes Finals,” Henry Dyson, Director of the UM Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, said in a statement. Rachel Merritt’s adventurous spirit, teaching English in Kyrgyzstan, studying in Moscow, and her work with the Flying Subtitles Collective and with Russian journalists and activists exemplify the contemporary Rhodes Scholarship’s commitment to “take the battle of the world.”


Merritt said her interest in integrating the Internet and Russian and Eastern European studies stems from the need for greater regulation and transparency of the Internet in Eastern Europe.

“I believe it is more necessary than ever to think critically about the role of the Internet in authoritarian regimes and to reimagine the international community’s engagement with the Internet to establish democratic norms,” ​​she said in a statement. “By studying at the intersection of REES and Internet studies as a Rhodes researcher while receiving mentorship from professionals who share a similar vision of responsible digital democracy, I will have the opportunity to help lead this transformation.”

Copyright 2021 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.


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