Linwood’s Margaret H. “Maggie” Dods, the valedictorian of the Mainland Regional High School class of 2015 and a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, is one of 32 Rhodes Scholars chosen from college students nationwide for 2019.
The announcement was made by the Rhodes Trust on its website Sunday.
Dods said she will concentrate on Kurdish literature and Arabic language while pursuing a masters of philosophy in modern Middle Eastern studies at Oxford University next year.
The application process started last spring, and she just found out a couple of days ago she was chosen after an interview process in New York City with other candidates.
“I got back last night, very late,” said Dods, who is now back at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
The academy has a program that matches professors and officers who have won scholarships to study in the United Kingdom through Rhodes, Fulbright and other programs with students to help them with the application process, she said.
In its profile of Dods, the trust said she majors in English and Arabic and has maintained a perfect grade point average. She also serves as a battalion commander, leading 750 of her peers.
The standout in track and field at Mainland has completed three marathons and is training for commission into the Marines, the profile said.
The Rhodes Trust on Sunday said the 32 scholars were chosen from among 880 applicants from 281 U.S. colleges. They will begin studies next fall at Oxford University in England.
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The latest group of U.S. Rhodes Scholars includes 21 women, the most ever in a single Rhodes class. Almost half of the 32 winners are immigrants or first-generation Americans.
In 2014, Dods was one of two Atlantic County high school seniors to be named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Dods was one of two students from New Jersey chosen for the Rhodes Scholar honor. Princeton University’s Nicolette C. D’Angelo, of Hewitt, Passaic County, was the other.
The organization says this is the first year of eligibility for the scholarship for those covered by an Obama-era program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that shields young immigrants from deportation, and that a DACA recipient from Harvard is a new Rhodes scholar.
Duke, Princeton and Yale each had three Rhodes scholars.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.