Notre Dame fifth-year student named Rhodes Scholar
Observer Staff Report | Monday, November 25, 2019
Notre Dame fifth-year student Prathm Juneja was named the University’s 20th Rhodes Scholar, the school announced in a Saturday press release. The Edison, New Jersey native will begin his time at the United Kingdom’s Oxford University next October. Juneja, along with seniors Matthew Schoenbauer and Nicholas Ottone, was one of three Notre Dame students who were Rhodes finalists this year.
“Notre Dame could not be prouder of Prathm Juneja because he was selected not for his scholarly achievement alone, but — in the words of the Rhodes Trust — ‘for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead,’” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release.
Jeffrey Thibert, who serves as the director the Notre Dame Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE), said Juneja represents a growing group of Notre Dame alumni continuing on to Oxford as Rhodes Scholars.
“We are so happy to congratulate Prathm Juneja on his selection as a 2020 Rhodes Scholar. Since 2016, only six U.S. institutions have produced more Rhodes Scholars than Notre Dame,” Thibert said. “This is a testament to the excellence of the undergraduate educational experience at Notre Dame and the fundamental alignment of the University’s mission with the Rhodes ideal of ‘standing up for the world.’”
Juneja is in the fifth year of the Reilly Five-Year Dual Degree Program, studying political science and computer science. In addition to being named a Rhodes Scholar he is also a Newman Civic Fellow, College of Arts and Letters Dean’s Fellow, Hipp-Beeler Scholar and Glynn Family Honors student, according to the release.
On campus, Juneja has formerly served as chief of staff and director of national engagement and outreach for Notre Dame’s student government. He is also a member of NDVotes and the Building Bridges Mentoring Program. He has also done work for the South Bend Mayor’s Office and is currently an “innovation associate” at Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign. He is also involved in local Democratic politics.
“I am so grateful for the support of Dr. Jeff Thibert, Elise Rudt and everyone at CUSE who guided me throughout this entire process with kindness and support,” Juneja said in the release. “I’d also like to thank my recommendation letter writers, Professor Bradley Malkovsky, Professor Shreya Kumar, Professor David Campbell, Professor Paul Ocobock, Brian Coughlin, Rosie McDowell, Santi Garces and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Without their support over these past four years, I know I would not have this opportunity.”
According to the release, the Rhodes Scholarship is designed to “[recognize] American students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories for their scholarly achievements, character, commitment to others and to the common good and potential for leadership.” This year, of the 963 students who applied, 32 applicants were selected for the program.