Carnegie Mellon University
November 25, 2013

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon University Alumna Named Rhodes Scholar

2013 Graduate is Fourth in University's History To Receive International Honor

Contact: Pam Wigley / 412-268-1047 /
Abby Simmons / 412-268-4290 /

WittekindPITTSBURGH-Courtney T. Wittekind of Mason, Ohio, who earned a Bachelor of Humanities and Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University in May 2013, has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, one of the oldest and most prestigious international study awards available to students in the United States. The Rhodes Trust announced the award this weekend, noting Wittekind's work in art, activism and anthropology on behalf of displaced persons and refugees as primary reason for her selection.

"Rhodes really stood out to me for its goal of funding scholars who will fight 'the world's fight,'" Wittekind said. "That was a concept that really struck a chord with me and continues to parallel my own vision for the work I hope to do in the future."

Wittekind is one of 83 scholars from around the world and one of 32 American students to be chosen. Wittekind, whose undergraduate degree is part of CMU's BXA Intercollege Degree programs, will study at Oxford beginning next fall and plans pursue a doctorate in anthropology.  

"Courtney represents the best of all that we offer at Carnegie Mellon. She took advantage of opportunities to push boundaries internationally and within our university, to explore interdisciplinary research in the arts and anthropology, to engage with the Pittsburgh community, and to pursue a competitive scholarship with the support of faculty and staff. What the Rhodes recognized in Courtney was the result of this configuration. She holds the promise of a leader who can help reshape how we consider cross-cultural communication and policymaking," said Stephanie Wallach, assistant vice provost of undergraduate education and director of the Fellowships and Scholarships and Undergraduate Research offices.

Wittekind works at The Brookings Institution, a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions. Prior to that, she worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees field office in Myanmar (Burma). While at Carnegie Mellon, she served as a news editor for The Tartan and served on its editorial board. She created arts initiatives in impoverished neighborhoods in Pittsburgh and Nicaragua with the student organization Juntos CMU.  She also studied in Thailand on a Boren Scholarship.

"Courtney is a stellar alumna from our Bachelor of Humanities and Arts Program. She found a perfect, seamless balance between a compelling artistic practice and rigorous academic research, blending art and anthropology with a minor in professional writing," said Susanne Slavick, Andrew W. Mellon professor of art. "Her intelligence, creativity, tenacity, diplomacy, altruism and leadership will have us all saying, 'I remember her when.' We are so very proud of her."

Wittekind is CMU's fourth Rhodes Scholar. Prior Rhodes Scholarships were given to Mindy Hebert DeRouen, who earned her bachelor's degree in biological sciences in 2002; the late Ronald Boyer, a 1953 physics graduate; and Cindi Dennis, who earned her bachelor's degree in physics and computer science in 2000.

The Rhodes Scholarships, established in 1902 under the will of Cecil Rhodes, are postgraduate awards supporting outstanding students at the University of Oxford, and providing transformative opportunities for exceptional individuals. The scholarship program covers the full cost for recipients to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, covering two to four years of tuition. The Rhodes Scholarships support students who demonstrate a strong propensity to emerge as leaders for the world's future.