Mitchell Scholarship recipient Sarah Bufkin now 49th UNC Rhodes Scholar

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Mitchell Scholarship recipient Sarah Bufkin now 49th UNC Rhodes Scholar


Bufkin is currently enrolled in graduate studies in Belfast on the prestigious Mitchell Scholarship


(Chapel Hill, N.C.—Nov. 24, 2014) – Sarah M. Bufkin of Atlanta, a 2013 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has received a Rhodes Scholarship, the world’s oldest and best known awards for graduate study.


Bufkin, 23, was one of 32 Americans selected Nov. 22 for the prestigious award, which funds study at the University of Oxford in England. She is currently pursuing master’s degree in Moral, Legal and Political Philosophy on a Mitchell Scholarship in Northern Ireland, an honor she was awarded in 2013.


She is UNC-Chapel Hill’s 49th Rhodes Scholar since the program began in 1904, and the fourteenth Carolina student selected since fall 2000.


“This came as such a surprise. I am just so grateful for this tremendous opportunity,” said Bufkin. “I owe many, many people my profound thanks for how they have supported me through this process.”


Bufkin is the daughter of Mark and Jacqueline Bufkin of Atlanta. She graduated from Henry Grady High School in 2009. She came to Carolina on a Morehead-Cain Scholarship, a full, four-year scholarship to UNC that also funds four summer enrichment experiences and additional educational opportunities. She graduated with a double major in cultural studies and history and with a minor in creative writing focusing on poetry.


“Sarah’s passion for civil rights is inspiring, and I believe that this opportunity to study at Oxford will enhance not only her learning – but her desire to change the world,’’ said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “Earning the Morehead-Cain Scholarship, the Mitchell Scholarship and the Rhodes is a tremendous honor, and we are proud of all that she has accomplished.’’



At UNC-Chapel Hill, Bufkin was an Honors Carolina student and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She served as the editor-in-chief of Campus BluePrint, a columnist at The Daily Tar Heel and was a counsel in the university’s student-run honor system.


“Sarah is simply extraordinary. As a scholar and advocate of civil rights, she is motivated by a deeply compassionate spirit; and her intellectual strengths have no apparent limits,” said Mary Floyd-Wilson, director of Carolina’s Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “Sarah fits the Rhodes’ criteria perfectly, and I have no doubt that she will devote her career to challenging systemic inequality and privileging marginalized voices in an effort to foster positive change.”


Bufkin has interned for The Huffington Post and ThinkProgress. She has also served as a communications coordinator for the North Carolina NAACP.


In April 2013, she was awarded the Taylor Research Fellowship to study the intersection of public engagement, political unrest, and poetry in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.


Bufkin was a finalist for the Rhodes in 2013, though opted for the Mitchell then in order to pursue her studies at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She plans to use her time at Oxford to pursue a D.Phil. in politics and ultimately practice civil rights law.


The Rhodes provides all expenses for two to three years of study; its value averages $50,000 per year, depending on a scholar’s academic field. In the United States, 305 colleges and universities endorsed 877 candidates for the Rhodes this year. Of those applicants, 207 from 86 different colleges and universities were invited for final interviews Nov. 21-22 in 16 Rhodes districts across the country.


The American students will join an international group of scholars selected from 14 other jurisdictions around the world. Overall, approximately 80 scholars are selected each year. This year’s Scholars will enter Oxford in the fall of 2015.




The Rhodes Trust press release:


Photo of Bufkin:


Office of Distinguished Scholarships contacts: Mary Floyd-Wilson, (919) 843-7764,; and Alsace Gallop (919) 843-7757,; @ODS_UNCCH

Communications and Public Affairs contact: Helen Buchanan, (919) 962-2092,