Senior Bethany Brun has been nominated as a Rhodes Scholar for the 2011 to 2013 session. This is exciting not only for Brun, but also for Mercyhurst College.
Mercyhurst has never had a student win the Rhodes Scholarship, although there have been other nominations in the past. The last nominee was Stephanie Roddy in 2004. Roddy, a Sports Medicine major, was the college’s first nominee in almost two decades.
Now, not a decade later, Mercyhurst has its next nominee. Perhaps this will be the year a Mercyhurst Laker will win the coveted scholarship.
The Rhodes Scholarship was created in 1902 in accordance with the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist and founder of the De Beers diamond company.
The scholarship is an “international fellowship program,” and provides 2-3 years of graduate study at Oxford University to students from all over the world. Each year, 32 American students are chosen.
According to Rhodes’ will, there are four criteria by which Rhodes Scholars are selected: first, “literary and scholastic attainments;” second, “energy to use one’s talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports; third, “truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship;” finally, “moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.”
It is clear by looking at Brun’s outstanding list of achievements that she fits the bill for a Rhodes Scholar.
Beth is a sociology and religious studies major, and is also pursuing a minor in marriage and family studies. She is a member of three honor societies: Sigma Alpha Pi, Phi Eta Sigma and the National College Athlete Honor Society: Chi Alpha Sigma.
Brun also participates in numerous campus extra-curricular activities. She is the co-leader of the Certified Peer Educator Program, vice president of the Student Athletic Advisory Board, a Laker Leader, as well as a research assistant to the chair of the religious studies department.
Beth is also the co-captain of the rowing team, and contributed to the team’s win at the NCAA Division II Eights National Championship in May of this year. She was an inaugural recipient of the NCAA Elite 88 Award. Even as a freshman, Brun was an outstanding member of the team, earning the award “Rookie of the Year.”
Brun has put in a large number of volunteer hours at many local venues, including the Emmaus soup kitchen and the International Institute of Erie.
After graduation from Mercyhurst, Brun hopes to earn a master’s degree in women’s studies and theology with a specialization in Christian ethics.
When asked where she saw herself in 10 years Brun said, “I hope to be working on a Ph.D. that is inspired by my Rhodes experience, starting a family, and coaching rowing, most likely at the high school level. My goal is to look back on my twenties and say that I used my strengths to help others, learned from my mistakes, and traveled abroad to experience firsthand different cultures and traditions that I have read about.”