© Getty ImagesRhodes Scholars elected virtually for first time due to pandemic
The Rhodes Trust selected the U.S. winners of the 2021 Rhodes Scholarship on Sunday virtually for the first time in its history due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Trust announced the list of 32 winners, which includes 10 who are Black, tying the all-time high, according to The Associated Press. Seventeen of the winners are women, 14 are men and one is nonbinary.
Two universities are represented among the winners for the first time ever: University of California, Santa Cruz and Southern Connecticut State University.
Shera Avi-Yonah, one of the winners, told the AP "a wave of gratitude washed over me" upon receiving the news.
"I'm going to have a very happy Thanksgiving," the 22-year-old Harvard student added.
Avi-Yonah, a reporter for the Harvard Crimson, told the AP her studies at Oxford will focus on history, specifically the differences and similarities between British and American libel laws. She told the news service she intends to become a journalist upon graduation.
"It's a moment where journalism is both in crisis financially and there are outside attacks, but it's also more vital than ever to our democracy," she said.
"This year's American Rhodes Scholars - independently elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously - reflect the remarkable diversity that characterizes and strengthens the United States," Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, said in a statement.
"Never before has a class of Rhodes Scholars been elected entirely virtually, with both candidates and selectors participating safely, independently and digitally," he added.