For the third consecutive year a record number of women were selected to receive prestigious Rhodes scholarships.
Of the 32 Americans named as scholarship recipients Sunday, 18 were women and 14 were men. Last year, 17 women were named scholars and 16 were named in 1992.The competition - created in 1902 - was first opened to women in 1976. It offers winners a chance to study at Oxford University in England. Criteria include high academic achievement, integrity, leadership and athletic prowess, program officials said.
"I feel absolutely thrilled. I am so excited," said Sarah Light from the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., where she is studying politics and Russian studies.
Light, who also is president of an a cappella singing group, said she had already applied to Oxford before winning the scholarship.
Jennifer Babick, 21, said she was once apprehensive about leaving the Northeast to study medicine.
"Now I'm leaving the country," said the Princeton University student, a native of Piscataway, N.J.
"It feels great. I'm really excited about it. My roommates got me some champagne, and we celebrated," said the molecular biology major who also plays softball and lacrosse.
Many of the students showed interest in community service.
Ben Jones, 22, of Princeton is a volunteer tutor in a prison. The mechanical engineering student is also a rock climber and plays the piano and acoustic guitar.
The Falmouth, Mass., resident said he and his friends "had a drink and celebrated" after the winners were announced.