- Associated Press - Sunday, November 20, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Two people with New Jersey ties have been chosen as Rhodes scholars.

Laura Courchesne, a Fair Haven resident who attends the University of Georgia, and Aaron Robertson, a Princeton University student from Redford, Michigan, were among the 32 American recipients announced Sunday. Both will now pursue post-graduate studies at England’s Oxford University.

The 2017 scholars-elect were chosen from 882 applicants who were endorsed by 311 colleges and universities. The scholarships cover all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford starting next October.

Courchesne is a senior majoring in economics and religion. She has conducted destabilization, conflict and peacekeeping research at Oxford, Princeton and the U.S. Army War College, interned with the International Red Cross and at the Carter Center and conducted fieldwork in Bali relating to terrorism.

Her thesis combines perspectives from sociology, anthropology and organizational behavior in examining the impact of American drone strikes on local communities in conflict zones. At Oxford, she will pursue master of science degrees in social anthropology and politics research.

Courchesne did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.

Robertson is a senior majoring in Italian. His research focuses on transnationalism and linguistic exchange in Afro-Italian literature. He is particularly interested in issues of authenticity, self-representation and translation in contemporary Afro-Italian biographies.

Robertson serves as co-editor-in-chief of the Nassau Literary Review and has written for the Detroit Metro Times and The Daily Princetonian. He has also published a one-act play and was awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship.

At Oxford, he will pursue a master of philosophy degree in modern languages.

Robertson did not respond to a request for comment Sunday, but in a note posted on his Twitter account he stated: “Thanks to everyone who made this possible. The world needs a hell of a facelift, and so I hope to do my part.”

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