Julian De Freitas ’13 received an international Rhodes scholarship from South Africa this weekend, bringing this year’s record-breaking number of Rhodes scholars from Yale to nine.
An international student at Yale, De Freitas flew back to South Africa for both the semifinal and final rounds of the Rhodes application process and received notice of his award in South Africa on Sunday.
“I felt honored to be chosen from such a distinguished group, and to represent my country,” De Freitas said in an email to the News. Though he added that he experienced a “unique cocktail of emotions” when his name was announced as a winner, he said his main reaction was “massive relief.”
De Freitas is a cognitive science major and plans to study experimental psychology at Oxford, researching behavior and cognitive neuroscience. He has conducted research on perception — particularly on how the human mind is capable of paying attention to time — and on moral intuitions and psychological vulnerabilities. De Freitas has also presented his work internationally and written for publications including Nature magazine.
At Yale, De Freitas was co-captain of Yale Road Running, a leader in the Yale Alley Cats a cappella group and a member of the Whiffenpoofs. He once worked night shifts at a psychiatric ER and writes creatively in his spare time.
De Freitas is one of five scholars chosen from the Southern Africa-at-Large region to win the Rhodes, and he is one of two Yale students this year to win an international Rhodes so far.