Senior Hannah Voss advances to finals for Rhodes Scholarship

Senior English major and Honors student Hannah Voss. Photo courtesy of Benedictine College.

By Hope Thompson, The Circuit.

Benedictine College senior Hannah Voss is among 14 other regional finalists competing for the Rhodes Scholarship this weekend in Chicago, Ill.

The renowned scholarship provides full financial support for the winners to pursue an education at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Voss, an English major and member of the Honors program, plans on applying to Oxford for graduate school, regardless of whether or not she is awarded the scholarship, but says winning would definitely give her a leg up.

With over 95 Rhodes Scholarships awarded worldwide, 32 are available to American students.

The winners are chosen based off their character, achievements in the classroom, leadership roles and ‘commitment to the common good,’ according to the official website.

Voss expressed interest  her freshman year in being a Rhodes Scholar to Claudia Crifasi, Post Graduate Support Coordinator.

“She basically told me to be a normal freshman and come back my senior year,” Voss said. “But I’ve been in contact with her for about two years now and when I came back this fall I kind of hit the ground running.”

The application process, Voss says, is simpler than you’d think. Each applicant is required to send in a headshot, their official transcript, their academic resume, a thousand word personal statement and five to eight letters of recommendation.

“The Rhodes interviews are known for being super difficult,” she said. “It’s extremely difficult—getting past the interview stage. So, I’m trying to go into it with the attitude of being confident and authentically myself. I think that’s what got me this far.”

Crifasi, along with Katie McDowell, Director of Career Development, was involved in helping her prepare for the weekend, including setting up mock interviews, refining her resume and crafting a personal statement.

“Everyone says that this process is a lot of having conversations with smart, driven people,” Voss said.

“I’m going to talk about things the way I care about them and not put too much pressure on myself to be this perfect person. I feel good about it. I know it will be difficult, but I know I’m prepared.”

The interview portion takes place this weekend and winners will be announced then as well.