Sarah Mackenzie ’20 named 2021 Rhodes Scholar to pursue postgraduate studies in social policy, intervention at the University of Oxford

Nov 30, 2020

Sarah Mackenzie ’20 of Calgary, Alberta, has received the Rhodes Scholarship to pursue a fully funded postgraduate degree at the University of Oxford beginning next fall. The recent graduate was one of 11 Canadians selected to join the 2021 cohort and the 51st Rhodes Scholar from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, according to the University’s announcement of the award on November 23. 

Sarah is the 32nd Morehead-Cain to receive the honor and was one of just two Carolina students to receive the Rhodes Scholarship this year. The second awardee, Peter Andringa, graduated in 2020 with degrees in journalism and computer science.

The Rhodes Scholarship, established in 1902, is one of the oldest and most prestigious international scholarship programs. Scholars are selected based on academic excellence, character, leadership, and commitment to service.

A Carolina Honors laureate, Sarah earned degrees in public policy and global studies and a minor in Arabic from the College of Arts & Sciences. As an undergrad, she was actively involved in the Campus Y’s Criminal Justice Awareness Action Group and the Chapel Hill-based Community Empowerment Fund, a nonprofit focusing on "enabling and sustaining transitions out of homelessness and poverty." The alumna also served as an honor court member, a teaching assistant in the global studies department, and one of two scholar directors on the Morehead-Cain Scholarship Fund board of directors. She is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the most prestigious academic honor society in the United States.

Following her graduation, Sarah was named a Thomas W. Ross North Carolina Leadership Fellow through the public policy department. She researched the economic and social impact of COVID-19 across the state and served as the team lead for a project on poverty, housing, and food insecurity. Since July of this year, Sarah has worked full-time as a client advocate at the Center for Appellate Litigation in New York City with a focus on defending indigent clients in criminal appeal proceedings throughout Manhattan and the Bronx.

The alumna plans to study in The MPhil in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation program through the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at Oxford.

The Rhodes Scholarship, founded and administered through the Rhodes Trust, covers university fees and related travel costs and includes an annual stipend for two years. The program also provides scholars with opportunities to secure research grants and attend conferences abroad or conduct additional fieldwork. There are more than 7,000 members worldwide in the Rhodes Scholars fellowship. 


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