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KU student Shegufta Huma earns Rhodes Scholarship

Monday, November 21, 2016

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas senior Shegufta Huma is one of 32 American students to win a Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious recognitions of scholarly excellence.

Huma, from Bel Aire, is majoring in political science with a minor in Spanish. She is fluent or proficient in six languages. She emigrated from Bangladesh as a child before becoming a U.S. citizen and is particularly interested in working toward justice for Muslim immigrants. Huma is KU’s 27th Rhodes Scholar.

“We are very proud of Shegufta’s election as a Rhodes Scholar,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “Besides being an outstanding scholar, she is a powerful spokesperson for the marginalized and most vulnerable members of our society, and her voice will now have the opportunity to resonate on an international level.”

Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England.

Huma said she was grateful to receive the opportunity and that she was ready to get to work.

“This has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who shares my joy during triumphs like this but, more importantly, those who help me power through the struggles that have led me here,” Huma said. “I’m overjoyed to have this opportunity to further my commitment to social justice through my studies at Oxford.”

At KU, Huma’s involvement has included Student Senate, the Women of Color Collective, the Muslim Student Association and Margaret Amini Scholarship Hall. She has also served on the Lawrence Fair Housing Committee and founded the Imagine Coalition, advocating for marginalized students.

She was one of only 20 KU sophomores selected for the University Scholars Program. She works at KU as a peer educator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and as peer outreach adviser for the Office of Fellowships & Scholarships at the University Honors Program.

Huma will enter Oxford in October 2017 and plans to pursue 2 one-year degrees that will prepare her to enter a career serving society by working in organizations related to the global refugee crisis and related social policy.

She plans to spend her first year obtaining a master's degree in refugee and forced migration studies, followed by a year obtaining a master's degree in public policy.

She traveled to Chicago to interview for the award on Friday and Saturday. She was one of two winners from a district including finalists from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee.

“Shegufta is an astounding and exceedingly bright young scholar who is an inspiration to those who know her,” said Bryan Young, director of the University Honors Program. “She is certainly deserving of this recognition, and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes during her promising career.”

Huma is the daughter of Mohammad Anwar and Anjuman Ara of Bel Aire.

KU has produced more Rhodes Scholarships than all other colleges in Kansas combined.

KU’s Office of Fellowships & Scholarships at the University Honors Program coordinates the Rhodes Scholarship application process, and students interested in applying for future awards may visit



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The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

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