With the end of the semester right around the corner, it’s time for seniors to make plans for when their time as a student at Wabash comes to a close. Chase Breaux ’24 was named a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. One of the most competitive and selective scholarships in the nation, Wabash students have done very well in the selection process, producing nine total Rhodes scholars out of numerous finalists — more than any other liberal arts institution in the state of Indiana. Ultimately, Breaux was not selected as one of the Rhodes scholar recipients, but his nomination as a finalist gives significant reason to celebrate.
Breaux is a political science major and a black studies minor from Houston, Texas and a brother of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. On campus, he has taken leadership positions through his involvement with Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse, ‘shOUT and the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies. After his time at Wabash, he plans to attend law school and influence public policy in order to reshape the criminal justice system in a way that provides justice for all, regardless of identity or wealth.
Susan Albrecht, Wabash College Fellowship Advisor, described the Rhodes scholarship as the “gold standard” fellowship; one that considers academic achievement, academic and extracurricular leadership ability, and potential to create positive change in the candidate’s field of choice.
“There are 16 Rhodes districts in the US, with each district naming 12 finalists and ultimately selecting two winners each year,” said Albrecht. “From a pool of roughly 1,000 nominated applicants, Chase was one of 192 finalists, out of which the 32 US Scholars were chosen.”
Chase’s past accolades make it no surprise that he was a finalist. He is the recipient of three nationally renowned scholarships including the Obama Voyager Scholarship for Public Service, the Gilman Scholarship for study abroad, and the Point Foundation Scholarship.
“I tend to focus on opportunities that focus on empowering marginalized communities or people pursuing careers in public service,” said Breaux.
Professor of Political Science Scott Himsel ’85 has taught and mentored Breaux throughout his time at Wabash.
“Chase is very articulate,” said Himsel. “He speaks with a deep, resonant voice that tends to get people’s attention. While he is kind, Chase is also like a dog with a bone in the heat of arguments that matter, and the arguments that matter most to Chase deal with social justice.”
Breaux’s experience partaking in various fellowship application processes has allowed him to reflect on what others should value when considering fellowship opportunities.
“Do what matters to you,” said Breaux. “Find organizations or clubs that allow you to engage with the things you care about. Work internships in areas you care about to get real-world experience. This, coupled with your studies, will allow you to build out your skills and knowledge in the area you are most invested in so that you are competitive for fellowships and jobs.”
Albrecht believes in the importance of fellowship and scholarship opportunities, as experiences such as “studying abroad, learning a critical-need language, teaching English overseas, doing research, or pursuing a graduate degree in another country” will help any career path.
“The application process itself helps a person identify what matters most to them and helps them learn how best to present their story and to advocate for themself,” said Albrecht.
NOTE: An earlier version of this article suggested that nine Rhodes finalists had come out of Wabash. Nine Rhodes winners have come out of Wabash, among numerous finalists.