Millsaps boasts second recent Rhodes Scholar - - Jackson, MS

Millsaps boasts second recent Rhodes Scholar

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: Rhodes Trust Source: Rhodes Trust
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Another Rhodes Scholar is among the ranks at Millsaps College.

RELATED: Millsaps College student awarded Rhodes Scholarship

Noah Barbieri is preparing to graduate from the Jackson college and cross the pond for a coveted education sought by young minds around the world.

"It's been over a week and a half, but it really still hasn't sunk in what it all means," said Barbieri after finishing classes for the day at the college on State Street in Jackson.

It's amazing that winning the Rhodes Scholarship hasn't really hit the 4.0 average, triple major.

By the way, he is student body president carrying 19 hours this semester.

The 22-year-old Belden native is one of 32 U.S. winners of the prestigious scholarship to the University in England.

"It's gonna be wild," said Barbieri. "The longest I've ever been out of the country is three weeks at one time, and I'll be gone for two entire years, living at the University of Oxford, studying there. It's just a dream come true."

After applying for the scholarship and submitting a 1,000 word essay, he underwent a two stage interview process with panelists in Birmingham, Alabama.

A graduate of the Tupelo Christian Preparatory School, Barbieri is Millsaps' second Rhodes Scholar in three years.

Kenneth Townsend is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Millsaps, as well as Executive Director of the Institute for Civic and Professional Engagement.

He was a Rhodes Scholar in 2004.

"About a week and a half ago when he was at the interview, I was waiting on pins and needles with my cell phone in hand," explained Townsend. "I was really excited when I got that call from him and learned that he was off to Oxford."

The college professor has known the young talent since he was in high school and recruited Barbieri.

"I taught him the Political Theory course," said Townsend. "It's an introductory Political Theory course that I teach every fall semester and Noah had the highest grade in the class which might not be surprising, but he was only a sophomore at the time."

Townsend has plenty of advice and encourages the new scholarship recipient to travel extensively while abroad.

"It changed my life. I grew up at the end of a dirt road in rural Mississippi and had never left the country before being selected for the Rhodes Scholarship, but I spent two years in Oxford and the world was open to me," said Townsend. "By the time I ended, I'd been to 30 different countries, and I hope he can do something like that when he's over there."

Thanksgiving was a whirlwind of congratulations and well wishes from across the country and around the world. People were connecting with him, wanting to know about the essay he'd written, his research and future studies.

"I most recently researched how to decrease inequality, different forms of inequality in the U.S. and in Mississippi," said Barbieri. "I've mostly focused on labor force participation rates as an undergraduate and I wrote a 100-page thesis in philosophy on how to ethically control capital."

He plans to return to the state after earning a Master's Degree at Oxford.

"I know that I want to use my skills in economics, learn skills in management and come back to try to run a government organization," said Barbieri.

He graduates in May and begins classes in England in October.

It's a proud time for the 127-year-old college.

Millsaps is one of 12 colleges or universities in the country to have a Rhodes Scholar in two of the previous three years.

Millsaps shares the distinction with Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Georgetown, Duke, Penn, University of Virginia, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy and Notre Dame.

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