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Myers Park graduate at UNC earns Rhodes Scholarship

Rachel Myrick plans to study ethnic conflicts in world politics at Oxford

A Charlotte native attending UNC Chapel Hill is among 32 American students selected as 2013 Rhodes Scholars and will receive scholarships to Oxford University.

Rachel Myrick, 21, was selected Saturday for the award that pays all expenses for up to four years of study at the university in England. Myrick, a 2009 graduate of Myers Park High School in Charlotte, is majoring in political science and global studies, with a minor in creative writing.

Myrick has attended UNC on a Morehead-Cain Scholarship, a full, four-year scholarship to UNC that also funds four summer enrichment experiences and additional educational opportunities.

Myrick plans to use her Rhodes Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in international relations, studying the causes and consequences of ethnic conflict in world politics.

“I was mentally preparing myself to congratulate the winners,” Myrick said Sunday. “When I heard it was me, I was in total disbelief. I just kind of froze. I don’t think it’s sunk in for me yet. I think this is going to be such an incredible opportunity for me in so many ways.”

Myrick said she hopes to use the opportunity to spend more time studying international conflicts and the process of rebuilding. She hopes to gain first-hand experience by traveling abroad, potentially to Africa. Ultimately, she hopes to earn a doctorate.

During high school, Myrick said her interest in conflict resolution was piqued during a high school trip with a Charlotte-based nonprofit organization.

“I learned a lot about genocide reconstruction,” she said. “It’s been an intellectual and personal interest.”

Myrick said she owes the scholarship to everyone who has helped her along the way, including her fifth-grade teacher at Barringer Academic Center, Carol Reid, who wrote one of her recommendation letters.

“I really realized there are so many people who have been encouraging of me throughout this process,” Myrick said. “ I have a lot of people to thank.”

Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 through the estate of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes and have a value of about $50,000 per year. Staff writer Elisabeth Arriero contributed.

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