The Rhodes Trust named a total of 80 recipients worldwide, 32 from the United States, in this year’s class of Rhodes Scholars who will begin their studies at Oxford University in October 2012.
Bryson, named the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Liberal Arts at CSULB at the time of her graduation last spring, was a double major who earned bachelor’s degrees in German and international studies, along with a minor in political science and an honors diploma. She is currently a graduate student at Georgetown University, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in German and European studies in the university’s School of Foreign Service. She plans to pursue a career in diplomacy or foreign policy advising.
While at CSULB, Bryson acquired some of the most prestigious pre-professional experiences in the international affairs field while maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average and a spot on the President’s List every semester. She studied for a year at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, as one of only 30 international students awarded the annual Remembrance and Future Fund Berlin Scholarship.
She also received CSULB’s 2008 Frank Fata Scholarship for Language Studies Abroad and the 2008-09 German Academic Exchange Service Undergraduate Scholarship. While in Germany, she participated in a U.S.-German forum for young leaders and served as an American cultural ambassador for the Meet U.S. program at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. In fall 2010, she interned with the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.
At CSULB Bryson was a member of the German Club and served as president and academic coordinator of the campus’ Model United Nations (MUN), moderating panel discussions, participating in seven MUN conferences in four countries, and instructing more than 30 delegates about the function of the United Nations.
“My time at Cal State Long Beach and in the California system of public higher education was so instrumental in this process – I would not be a Rhodes Scholar if I hadn’t gone to CSULB,” said Bryson. “I had great faculty support for all of my academic endeavors and I participated in campus clubs like the Model United Nations and the German Club. Participating in these organizations was instrumental in me following my dreams.”
“Steffi is a great example of what can be accomplished with determination and hard work,” said CSULB President F. King Alexander. “Our entire campus community takes great pride in her achievement. She is only one of eight public university Rhodes Scholar awardees in the Class of 2012, and this is a remarkable feat considering that it is the world’s most prestigious international student scholarship.”
Beyond Bryson’s studies and extracurricular activities at CSULB, she was a lifeguard and first responder in swift water rescue and SCUBA search and recovery, winning the Joe Shirley Memorial Scholarship for outstanding lifesaving achievement. She also volunteered with the Wounded Warriors Project, teaching U.S. veterans water sports to help them readjust to civilian life.
Previous recipients of the Rhodes Scholarship include former U.S President Bill Clinton; author Robert Penn Warren; former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke; former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (NJ); social and educational activist Jonathan Kozol; CNN chairman and CEO Walter Issacson; MSNBC political analyst and host Rachel Maddow; 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner Siddhartha Mukherjee; current Kenya presidential candidate Kingwa Kamenco; and Justine Schluntz, 2010 NCAA “Woman of the Year.”