Jennifer Harris, a Wake Forest University senior from Lawton, Okla., has been named a Rhodes Scholar.
Harris is one of 32 American women and men chosen as Rhodes Scholars on Nov. 22. The American Rhodes Scholars will join an international group of Rhodes Scholars chosen from 18 other jurisdictions around the world.
Harris, who was named as one of 76 Truman Scholars in the United States last spring, is the eighth Wake Forest student to win the Rhodes Scholarship since 1986.
She plans to pursue a master’s degree in international relations at Oxford University next fall. At Wake Forest, she is a Graylyn Scholar with a double major in political science and economics. The scholarship is made possible by Wake Forest’s Graylyn International Conference Center.
Since her arrival at Wake Forest, Harris has traveled extensively in Europe and elsewhere, researching refugee issues. She has dedicated much of her efforts to serving refugees in Latvia, Croatia and Sarajevo.
“I’m trying to convince people that international security and human rights, specifically refugee rights, are not mutually exclusive,” said Harris.
In Eastern Europe, Harris explained, she has been researching “how to devise credible asylum programs for refugees in need of protection” while also protecting the interests of the government.
In Croatia and Sarajevo, Harris added, she has examined what works and does not work in terms of returning refugees to their homeland in the former Yugoslavia.
In Latvia, she helped officials develop political asylum laws based on the U.S. model of asylum protection.
Harris said she is dedicated to the notion that governments cannot tighten asylum and immigration laws without “compromising our human rights obligations.”
Interviewed just hours after winning the Rhodes, Harris said she sees the scholarship as the “capstone of four incredible years at Wake Forest.”
Throughout her undergraduate study, Harris said, “Wake Forest has taken my research interests really seriously, and supported me all the way.”
Wake Forest has provided grants from several sources to Harris to provide her with the financial support to travel to various countries to conduct her research.
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