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Monday, April 15, 2024

Brilliant Lady wins UK Rhodes scholarship, set to bag 2 masters degrees at University of Oxford

A brilliant lady named Serena Alagappan has won the prestigious United Kingdom Rhodes Scholarship to study for two different master’s degrees at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Serena obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative literature and a certificate in European cultural studies and creative writing at Princeton University, one of the Ivy League universities in the United States.

She was awarded the prestigious United Kingdom’s Rhodes Trust Scholarship which will enable her to earn a Master’s degree in ocial anthropology and another master’s degree in World Literature in English at the University of Oxford.

The Rhodes Trust Scholarship at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom grants successful candidates a full tuition waiver plus a living stipend of £18,180 per annum to earn their Master’s degree.

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Application for the 2023 Award closed in September 2023 and applicants have submitted their applications. Click HERE to learn more about the United Kingdom Rhodes Scholarship.

Serena stated that her work while at Princeton University explores how identity and modes of expression shape art. She added that her senior thesis is “a collection of braided essays focused on American Sign Language and Deaf cultural arts.

Serena said her love of literature and languages began as a child, and in middle school, she began studying American Sign Language American Sign Language (ASL). At Princeton University, she broadened her involvement in the ASL community, including delving into ASL poetry.



In her Rhodes application, Serena said she wrote, “American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture has taught her that a culture’s unwritten storytelling can be just as textured and compelling as traditional literature.

She participated in several extracurricular activities. Serena is a member of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows, which brings together juniors and seniors committed to the study of humanistic inquiry, and an undergraduate liaison for the Department of Comparative Literature.

She received a John McPhee ’53 Award for projects in independent journalism and a Peter B. Lewis Grant for an independent creative writing project on literary pilgrimage in 2018.

Serena is also the president of the Princeton University American Sign Language Club. During her first year at the University, she began teaching elementary ASL to children ages 9-12 at Princeton’s Cotsen Children’s Library with Colin Lualdi, a 2017 alumnus. 

“Honestly, I was stunned and overwhelmed with gratitude. I immediately thought of my family, teachers, and professors, who have nurtured and guided me. I waited to tell my family in person since they were home in New York, but the first person I texted was my roommate,” she said when she found out about the scholarship.

She expressed her enthusiasm for further pursuing the academic interests she developed at Princeton while attending Oxford University. She mentioned how excited she is to discover both literary and personal connections in unexpected places.

Serena said she hopes to become a creative nonfiction writer and expand the conventional notions of what communication and language look like later in the future.


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