Russell Perkins ’09, a high honors graduate from Evanston, Ill., and COL major, has been awarded a 2010 Rhodes Scholarship.
Perkins co–founded Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education, which offers Wesleyan courses at Connecticut’s Cheshire Correctional Institution. In addition to offering education for selected inmates, the program provides research and volunteer opportunities for Wesleyan students and faculty.
“Oxford has one of the most exciting philosophy departments in the world and I was eager for the potential opportunity to take part in that,” he says.
“The whole interview process was pretty surreal,” he said. “There was a dinner party with the finalists and judges the night before and I felt like I couldn’t get a coherent sentence out. That was tough.”
A classical pianist and avid cyclist, he taught a small discussion workshop in philosophy at the Cheshire prison as an undergraduate. Russell plans to do the B.Phil. at Oxford University. And then??
“I’m taking this one step at a time. I’ve been so fortunate at Wesleyan to have opportunities to learn from such inspiring professors and pursue initiatives like the Prison Program. I intend to continue to work towards democratizing access to educational opportunity—but what form that will take, I don’t know yet.”