Daniel Clemens ’05 and Catherine Frieman ’05 will travel to Oxford University next fall as two of the this year’s Rhodes Scholars, having earned one of the top honors awarded to American undergraduates.
Clemens and Frieman were told of their selection on Nov. 20, after final interviews with the selection committee. Chosen from a pool of 904 applicants, the two are among 32 Americans selected for the honor.
“I’m still floored by the whole thing,” Frieman said. “It’s a dream come true.”
Frieman, an archeological studies major in Trumbull College, has conducted excavations in Denmark and on the Isle of Man. She also volunteered extensively in Yale’s Women’s Center, serving as head staffer during her sophomore year.
At Oxford, Frieman said she will pursue a masters of philosophy in European archeology. She said she looks forward to opportunities at Oxford to focus on European prehistory, a subject which she said can be difficult to study at American schools.
Frieman attributed her success to her close relation with her archaeology professors. This year, Frieman said she is taking the seminar Neolithic Rites, Ritual and Religion with only one graduate student and the department chair.
“The professors have such high expectations for us, and there’s such a personal connection,” she said. “Without my family as supportive as they are and my professors as wonderful as they are, there’s no way I could have done as well academically as I’ve done.”
Clemens, who will receive both a bachelor’s degree and a masters of arts in political science from Yale, will pursue a doctorate in comparative social policy. A member, and then manager, of Yale’s varsity tennis team, Clemens attended the Universidad de La Habana in Cuba, founded a preventative health care program for children, and has served as an election analyst for NBC News.
Clemens said he will likely work to form policy or run a nonprofit organization once he finishes his studies at Oxford.
“I have a goal of helping as many people as possible,” he said.
Alex Dorato, coach of Yale’s varsity tennis team, said Clemens’ dedication to service is emblematic of his personality.
“That’s the way Daniel is,” Dorato said in an e-mail en route to Spain. “He is very hard working, loyal, optimistic, and wants to serve others. He achieved way beyond what one might think he is capable of through hard work and believe that achieving anything is possible if you set your mind to it.”
Setting her mind on succeeding in her chosen field of archeology is also what made Frieman stand out as a student, said Thomas Tartaron, director of undergraduate studies for archeological studies and Frieman’s advisor for four years.
“I don’t think I’ve ever known a student who had that clear of a vision at the beginning and followed it all the way,” Tartaron said. “She’s unbelievably proactive in planning out and achieving her goals.”
Tartaron said another archeological studies major, Miriam Clinton ’05, had also progressed to the last step of the Rhodes selection process.
The scholarships, established in 1902 through the will of Cecil Rhodes, were designed to honor academic achievement, integrity, leadership and athletics. Applicants must go through a three-tiered application and interview process and must first be endorsed by their own college or university.
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