CLAREMONT, Calif. (KABC) -- The class of U.S. Rhodes scholars for 2022 includes the largest number of women ever selected for the scholarship in one year, according the Rhodes Trust, and only one attends a Southern California school.
Of the 32 students chosen to study at the University of Oxford in England, 22 are women, the office of the American secretary of the trust said in a statement. One of the women selected is 22-year-old Sarah Chen, a philosophy and government student at Claremont McKenna College.
The selection process was completed virtually for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.
"Finding out was definitely crazy," she recalled. "So the way the Rhodes interview works is you're all sitting in a room with all the other contestants - in a Zoom room - and they announced it live."
This is the first time in 28 years Claremont McKenna College has had a Rhodes Scholarship recipient.
Chen is the president of the Claremont International Relations Society and the Alexander Hamilton Society.
She's also the student ambassador for the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies and works as a forecast analyst for the Lowe Institute of Political Economy.
During her time off-campus, she's an intern for the U.S. Army Cyber Command.
"She's so deserving of this," said Hillary Appel, one of Chen's professors. "She'll be a wonderful ambassador for the college, for Southern California and for her home state of Alaska too."
So what does Chen plan to do with the prestigious scholarship? Save the world, of course.
"My ultimate plan, or my dream, is to wargame for the defense and security of the United States and the world, internationally, and promoting peace through the usage of technology and cyber space," she said.
All 32 scholars were expected to start at Oxford in October. The scholarship covers financial expenses to attend the school.
Applicants must be endorsed by their college or university. Selection committees from 16 U.S. districts then choose and interview finalists before electing two students from each district.