Jackson has been heavily involved in Emory’s NAACP chapter. She also co-founded Atlanta Black Students United, a support system for students and resource for allies.
Jackson hopes to become a civil rights attorney, either with the U.S. Justice Department or a non-profit organization focused on social justice.
Calvin Runnels, a senior at the Georgia Institute of Technology from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is the state’s other recipient, the Rhodes Trust announced.
Runnels is pursuing a degree in biochemistry and maintains a 4.0 GPA. Runnels’ research advances protein crystallographic techniques and investigates origins of the ribosome, which may provide insight into the origins of life. A passionate educator, Runnels is dedicated to “helping others find the joy and satisfaction in learning I have,” he said in a news release.
At Georgia Tech, Runnels has been recognized as the highest-rated teaching assistant for his work in undergraduate mathematics. An effective activist, Runnels has organized rallies in solidarity with the immigrant community and has led efforts to increase the number of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. Runnels was also appointed by the president of Georgia Tech to co-chair the university’s LGBT+ Action Committee. Runnels, a transgender male, follows Pema McLaughlin, the first self-acknowledged transgender American Rhodes scholar (elected in 2016). At Oxford, Calvin will read for a doctorate in biochemistry.
The Rhodes Scholarship is considered one of the most prestigious academic awards in the world.
Prominent Rhodes scholars include former President Bill Clinton, former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow and Agnes Scott College president Elizabeth Kiss.