Mrinalini Sisodia Wadhwa CC’24 has been named a 2024 U.S. Rhodes Scholar. She is among 32 Americans chosen for the prestigious scholarship, which provides funding for two or three years of postgraduate study at Oxford.
“Mrinalini has impressed many here at Columbia with her intellectual curiosity and generosity of spirit. I’m delighted to see her recognized in this way,” said Ariella Lang, associate dean of academic affairs and director of undergraduate research and fellowships. “Mrinalini is always the first to acknowledge the faculty and mentors who have supported her and challenged her thinking. I too want to recognize the faculty, advisors and alumni community who have given unstintingly of their time to support Mrinalini and a truly inspirational group of nominees and finalists.”
U.S. Rhodes candidates must be nominated by their university before going through an extensive application process; selection within the United States and among all international regions is highly competitive. Criteria include academic excellence, a commitment to the welfare of others and to contributing to good in the world, and evidence of good character and promise of great leadership.
Wadhwa, who grew up in New Delhi and New York City, is a senior who is double-majoring in history and mathematics. With an interest in the intersections of gender, religion and law, Wadhwa is examining how religious knowledge is developed, transmitted and codified into law in the context of the British and French empires, with resonances for present-day debates over rights-based claims in our legal systems.
As a Laidlaw Scholar and research assistant at Oxford, Cambridge and Columbia Law School, and in Columbia’s Department of History, Wadhwa has worked on a range of archival projects that she says inspired her to apply to be a Rhodes Scholar. These include investigations into the 20th-century women’s movement’s involvement in constitutional reform in British India, the role of 18th-century French missionaries in developing and codifying knowledge of native religion and legal research on advancing gender justice in constitutional law.
Wadhwa also enjoys studying languages, translation and topics in topology and geometry. On campus, she was co-founder and co–editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journal of Asia, chair of the Columbia History Association, and co–editor-in-chief of the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review, as well as a Rose Teaching Assistant, Writing Center Peer Fellow and Student Representative to the Committee on the Core. As a Rhodes Scholar, Wadhwa plans to pursue an M.Phil. in modern European history at the University of Oxford.
Current students and alumni can learn more about the Rhodes and other fellowship offerings through the Undergraduate Research and Fellowships office.