- Associated Press - Sunday, November 20, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - The 32 new Rhodes scholars announced Sunday include nine students with ties to New England, including a Massachusetts native who speaks several languages and plans to pursue a career in international law and policymaking.

The Rhodes Trust announced the 32 Americans chosen as the 2017 Rhodes scholars, who will pursue post-graduate studies at Oxford University in England. The group includes eight current and former students at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Joshua Pickar, of Lexington, Massachusetts, is the only native New Englander among this year’s winners. He graduated from George Washington University in only two years with a double major in international affairs and security policy. He’s now in his final year at the University of Chicago Law School.

Pickar speaks several languages and plans a career in international law and policymaking. He learned he was among the winners on Saturday after he and other finalists were interviewed for the scholarships.

“They called my name first and I was shocked,” Pickar, 22, said Sunday. “I’m thrilled, and I’m really excited to go to Oxford.”

Pickar speaks Russian, French and Spanish, and is learning German, Italian and Arabic. His interest in languages dates back to middle school, when he started taking Spanish classes and took a trip to Costa Rica after eighth grade.

“I found it to be really exciting,” he said of speaking to people in other countries in their native languages. “Now I see it as a way to enhance your understanding of policy and law around the world.”

Pickar said he’s interested in the ramifications of Britain leaving the European Union and is thinking of pursuing a clerkship at the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands.

While in college, Pickar successfully helped advocate for an Iraqi refugee’s relocation to the U.S. after the refugee had been beaten by his family and exiled because of his sexual orientation. Pickar also helped in efforts to gain American citizenship for a deaf and mute Honduran who was tormented because of his disabilities.

Other scholarship winners with New England ties include:

- Maia Silber, of Cortlandt Manor, New York, a senior at Harvard studying history and literature.

- Sarah Waltcher, of New York City, who graduated this year from Dartmouth as valedictorian and is currently a teaching resident in sixth-grade science at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School in New York.

- Nancy Ko, of New York City, a senior at Harvard who is studying history and Near Eastern languages and civilizations.

- Noah Remnick, of New York City, who graduated from Yale last year with a history degree and has been a reporter for The New York Times.

- Spencer Dunleavy, of Philadelphia, a senior at Harvard studying chemistry and psychology. He plans to pursue a career in medicine.

- Olivia Klevorn, of Chicago, a senior at Yale majoring in anthropology. She has been focusing on disinvestment in low-income minority communities.

- Hannah Carrese, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, who graduated from Yale earlier this year with a humanities degree. She currently is in Mexico as a member of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

- Anthony W.L. Wohns, of Tacoma, Washington, who graduated from Harvard this year after concentrating on human evolutionary biology. He is now reading for a master’s degree in biological anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

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