After finding out she had been named a Rhodes scholar, senior Morgan Mohr celebrated by sleeping in for the first time in months.
Mohr was selected as one of 32 Rhodes scholars from the United States and is the first student from IU to receive the scholarship since 2011.
The scholarship provides for two years of study at the University of Oxford in Oxford, United Kingdom.
“Even when I was interviewing, I didn’t fully believe that I was competitive or that I had a strong chance of getting it,” Mohr said. “It was very unreal.”
Mohr is a Wells scholar at IU and studies political science, history and feminist policy. She helped revamp and lead the Feminist Student Association and joined other organizations dedicated to activism.
She is on the Board of Aeons, a group of students that advises IU President Michael McRobbie. She has also worked on various political campaigns, including as director of operations for John Hamilton, the current mayor of Bloomington.
Mohr also worked in Brooklyn, New York, at the national campaign headquarters for Hillary Clinton as an intern to the chief operating officer. She then worked as deputy operations director in Tampa, Florida. She said Clinton losing the election has been the biggest loss in her life.
“The loss doesn’t feel real, and the fact that I won the Rhodes doesn’t feel real,” Mohr said. “I’m just sort of existing in this weird alternate universe where nothing seems real.”
Scholar selection criteria includes academic achievement, energy to use one’s talents, and moral force of character. Mohr said she thinks she was chosen because of the strength of her character.
“I came into that interview very unafraid,” Mohr said. “I think one thing that really pushed them over is how genuine I am. Nothing that I have ever done has been in pursuit of the Rhodes. Even winning the Rhodes still doesn’t overshadow the blood, sweat and tears I put into this campaign.”
Mohr’s interview took place a week after the election, and she said during the interview she was asked how she could be so energetic just a week after the biggest loss of her life.
“I was very honest,” Mohr said. “I said, ‘I’m very angry. I’m really ready to win, and I’m ready to fight again. I’m not going to stop fighting.’”
Mohr has also been involved with the Hutton Honors College. Charlene Brown, director of extracurricular programming for the College, said the selectors look for people who are willing to stand up for others and Mohr has done that in every possible situation.
“Being concerned about the rest of the world is an important component, and she certainly brings that to the process,” Brown said. “She’s very purposeful. She’s very compassionate. Her way of looking at the world has to do with how others are doing in the world.”
Mohr’s proposed course of study is to get a master’s degree in comparative social policy, and she said she hopes to continue her path toward public service in politics and campaigns. She said she would love to run a federal agency or be a cabinet secretary.
“I love the bureaucracy,” Mohr said. “I love policy. I love implementation and planning of policy. I’m not someone who would run for office, but I really love the nitty-gritty, very dry, numbers-oriented aspects to governing.”
Mohr said she is looking forward to spending a lot of time reading and learning on her own.
“What excites me most is getting the chance to read for two years and getting the chance to do a lot of thinking and reflecting about American politics and about the loss that we’ve experienced and how to move forward from there,” Mohr said. “I think that this couldn’t come at a better time for me personally, so I’m really excited for that.”