Stephanie Bryson: CSULB's First Rhodes Scholar

November 22, 2011

Stephanie Bryson, who graduated with the class of 2011, received one of only 32 Rhodes Scholarships awarded throughout the United States. Upon receiving the scholarship, Bryson became the first California State University, Long Beach Rhodes Scholar. During her time at CSULB, Bryson completed a double major in International Studies and German with a minor in Political Science. She acquired some of the most esteemed pre-professional experiences in the field of International Affairs while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and a spot on the President’s List every semester. Bryson studied for a year at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany as one of only thirty international students awarded the annual Remembrance and Future Fund Berlin Scholarship. In addition, she received the 2008 CSULB Frank Fata Scholarship for Language Studies Abroad and the 2008-09 German Academic Exchange Service Undergraduate Scholarship. While in Germany, she participated in a U.S.-German forum for young leaders and served as an American cultural ambassador to Berlin’s U.S. Embassy. As a member of the German Club, Bryson served as CSULB Model United Nations’ (MUN) president and academic coordinator, moderating panel discussions, participating in seven MUN conferences in four countries, and instructing over thirty delegates about the U.N.’s functioning. Bryson has turned her athletic interests into a mechanism for service as a lifeguard and first responder in swift water rescue and SCUBA search and recovery, winning the Joe Shirley Memorial Scholarship for outstanding lifesaving achievement. She has also volunteered with the Wounded Warriors Project, teaching U.S. veterans water sports to help them re-adjust to civilian life. Bryson will begin her studies at the University of Oxford in October 2012. Recognition as a Rhodes Scholar is a tremendous honor for her and the entire CSULB community.

The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest and most prestigious international fellowship awards in the world. According to the Rhodes Scholar website, “Rhodes Scholars are chosen not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead.” These scholarships grant full financial support for Rhodes Scholars to pursue a degree or degrees at the University of Oxford in England.

Rhodes Scholarships have been awarded to the following prominent individuals: former U.S. President Bill Clinton, author Robert Penn Warren, former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawk, former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (NJ), social and educational activist Jonathan Kozol, chairman and CEO of CNN Walter Issacson, MSNBC political analyst and host Rachel Maddow, 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner Siddhartha Mukherjee, current Kenya presidential candidate Kingwa Kamenco, and 2010 NCAA “Woman of the Year” Justine Schluntz.

UPDATE:  Stephanie Bryson talks about her journey from surfer to Rhodes Scholar with NBC LA’s Conan Nolan.