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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Brilliant African-American man wins UK Rhodes scholarship, set to earn 2 masters degrees at Oxford University free of charge

A brilliant African-American man named Elvin N. Irihamye has won the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to study for two master’s degrees at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Elvin is the son of Rwandan immigrants who moved to the United Kingdom for greener pastures. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience at Indian University in the United States.

In 2022, he won the Rhodes scholarship in his third year at the University. The Rhodes scholarships offer fully-funded awards to successful candidates in terms of a full tuition waiver and an annual stipend of stipend is £17,310 per annum.

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As a Rhodes Scholar, you have the opportunity to study at one of the best universities in the world – The prestigious University of Oxford. The application for the next cohort will be opening June 1, for information on how to apply CLICK HERE.

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Elvin said he is grateful and thrilled to have been awarded the scholarship opportunity.  At Oxford, he will pursue a Master of Science in applied digital health and a Master of Science in global health leadership or a Master of Business Administration.

“I feel as if the Rhodes Scholarship means that I have a responsibility to fight the world’s fight,” he said. Elvin said his desire to help people on a global scale is rooted in his exposure to a variety of people, cultures and countries at an early age.

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He added that he was influenced by his parents whom he described as the most resilient people he knows. Elvin mentioned that his family lived in the cities of Shenzhen and Suzhou, China, and has traveled t Japan, Kenya, Turkey, Israel, and Burundi because of his father’s job.


“It made me cognizant of how different the human condition looks in different countries. When you see people in Hong Kong living in cramped homes right next to casinos, you start to wonder why that is and what it would take to solve the issue,” he said.

He stated that his parents considered education to be the most vital investment in his future, so they did all they could to help. Growing up, Elvin received additional tutoring from his father after school and additional homework.

Elvin added that the support gave him confidence as he took more difficult classes. “I can assure you I wasn’t born with any extra level of intelligence. It was my parents investing in my education that gave me a chance at success,” he said. 

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He mentioned that his interest in medicine particularly neuroscience was fueled by the book “Gifted Hands” by Dr. Ben Carson, a renowned Black neurosurgeon. He said reading it caused him to fall in love with the brain and neuroscience.

At Indiana University, Elvin was a student advisor to IU President Pamela Whitten as a member of the Board of Aeons, which endeavors to improve the student experience.

He also co-authored scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals that describe the results of research to decrease the effects of chemotherapy compounds on hearing loss, which were conducted while he was a high school student.

Elvin said he wanted to become a Rhodes Scholar to make a big impact worldwide. He is interested in using technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve health care in developing countries.

He believes that technology can make health care more fair for everyone. For example, in Rwanda, Zipline has a partnership with the government of Rwanda using drones to deliver blood products to clinics quickly and efficiently, breaking down barriers like bad roads or lack of electricity.

He said one of his specific interests is electronic medical records, especially in developing countries where paper records are still common. He believes that using technology like AI can help analyze large amounts of health data and improve healthcare.

Elvin said he wants to start a technology company with his fellow Rhodes Scholar to implement electronic medical records using blockchain technology and AI to extract important health information.

“If medicine is about helping people, then there needs to be a focus on shifting resources and creating innovations for those who need it the most. That is why I am so focused on making health care equitable because I think equity is at the core of what medicine ought to be,” he said.



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