by Charles Nugent
arts & life editor
In November 2015, Millsaps senior, Ericka Wheeler, was selected as one of only 32 Rhodes Scholars in the nation. According to their website, Rhodes Scholarships “are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world,” and winners are “chosen not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead.”
Wheeler says earning a Rhodes Scholarship wasn’t always a goal for her. “I didn’t know what the Rhodes scholarship was prior to coming to Millsaps,” she says. “Dr. McElvaine suggested I keep it in the back of my mind during my sophomore or junior year and connected me with Kenneth Townsend to get the application process started. I honestly never expected to actually get it and was told not to expect too much. I did work hard during the application process, just in case.” The hard work paid off, as Wheeler became the first African-American woman from Mississippi to receive the honor. She says, “This honor is an opened door of numerous possibilities that will allow me to make connections, improve my education, and serve my community in an even higher capacity.”
Wheeler plans to spend the next two years studying criminology and criminal justice at Oxford, and then she will pursue either a medical degree or a Ph.D.