Stanford senior Cyrus Reza named 2020 Rhodes Scholar

Reza is among the 32 Americans selected to attend the University of Oxford in England for graduate study in a field of their choice.

Stanford student Cyrus Reza, ’20, is a recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship, which provides all expenses for two or three years of graduate study at the University of Oxford in England.

"It was a tremendous honor to be invited to be a finalist at all," Reza said. "I cannot express my gratitude for having been selected."

This weekend, The Rhodes Trust announced that Reza and 31 other college students from across the country were selected for the Rhodes Scholarship, which is one of the oldest and most revered international fellowships in the world. Students apply for the award and are selected based on outstanding scholarly achievements, character, commitment to others and to the common good, as well as potential for leadership in whatever careers they choose. After completing his studies at Stanford next spring, Reza will relocate to Oxford to pursue a DPhil in Oriental Studies.

Reza applied for the Rhodes Scholarship because he believed it would help expand his understanding of the Middle East, particularly Kurdistan. Last summer, while traveling in the region, he became acquainted with the consequences of the conflict in Iraq on the rights of ethnic minorities and women. Part of his time there was spent following an Italian journalist as she studied the phenomenon of self-immolation among Iraqi Kurdish women.

"I hope that my work at Oxford may, in some small part, help shed light on this and other acute issues that impact the most underprivileged peoples in Iraq," Reza said.

Reza was born and raised on the East Coast and later relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska, before enrolling at Stanford in 2016. He is currently a double major in classics and mathematics and is also pursuing a master’s degree in international policy with a focus on international security at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Reza credits his time at Stanford for helping him develop an interest in public service, particularly the military, which he intends to enter once he completes his graduate studies.

"I have had the good fortune to gain exposure to several retired and active servicemen and women at Stanford who have furthered my desire to serve. I feel indebted to Stanford for introducing me to this diversity of thought and background." Reza said. "I credit the entirety of my academic achievement to Stanford’s vibrant intellectual community, and I know that Oxford will be a wonderful next step for me."

International scholarships

Stanford students interested in overseas scholarships and Stanford faculty interested in nominating students for such awards should contact Diane Murk, manager of the Overseas Resource Center at dmurk [at] stanford (p) edu, or John Pearson, director emeritus of the Bechtel International Center, at john.pearson [at] stanford (p) edu.


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