CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill native Charlie Tyson has been selected as a 2014 Rhodes Scholar. He currently attends the University of Virginia and has been awarded the prestigious post-graduate scholarship to study at the University of Oxford in England next fall.
Only 32 Americans are selected for the scholarship each year.
Tyson said he was “confident he wasn’t going to be selected” going into the Rhodes Scholar interview Saturday morning in Washington D.C., but found out the good news that afternoon.
“A funny story is that they asked all of the finalists to bring hard copies of their transcripts in the afternoon in case they were selected. I didn’t even bother to bring mine,” Tyson said humbly, though his collegiate resume is impressive. “I left my transcript at my hotel room because I was so sure that I had no chance of winning this thing.”
The twenty-one-year-old is majoring in political and social thought and English at UVA. Tyson will pursue two one-year master’s programs at Oxford, one in Victorian literature and another in history of science, after which he plans to return come back to the U.S. for a Ph.D. in English literature.
“The one thing that it really gives me is time and also space to really distill my guiding interests and learn and connect with other people and see a little bit of the world.”
As a student at East Chapel Hill High, Tyson wrote for the school’s newspaper. Fast forward to his collegiate career, and he is the executive editor of The Cavalier Daily, the independent student newspaper, where he writes editorials and edits opinion and editorial content.
“That is really where I first learned how to write, and second, where I discovered a passion for journalism,” Tyson said. “That is something I funneled a lot of my energy into for college. It all started at East Chapel Hill High School.”
Tyson’s high school advisor, Jennifer Colletti, wrote a letter of recommendation on his behalf for the Rhodes Scholarship.
Except for a trip to Israel last year, he has not had extensive experiences abroad. When imagining setting foot on Oxford’s campus for the first time, he said he was most excited to immerse himself in stimulating academic culture.
“I’ve had a wonderfully bizarre experience at UVA, and I hope to have another two years at Oxford where it will be a continuation of ideas and really learning from my classmates and professors.”
Tyson said his dream post-Oxford is to become a writer and a professor. As a product of a public university, he hopes to also teach at a state institution.
“I’m inspired by the powerful impact a liberal arts education can have on a person,” Tyson told UVA Today.