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Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Breaking News

Breaking: Another Rhodes finalist!

Erika Francks '17 is fourth in five years from ESS

Erika Francks '17 is fourth in five years from ESS

Erika Francks

ESS is delighted to announce that Erika Francks '17, an Environmental Studies major and SCU's 2017 valedictorian, has been named as a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. Each year, a mere 32 students from the United States are awarded this highly prestigious international fellowship to study at Oxford University.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen for academic accomplishments, character, commitment to the common good, and potential for leadership. Famous former Rhodes Scholars include President Bill Clinton, Supreme Court Justice David Souter, journalist Rachel Maddow, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and Pulitzer Prize winner Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Erika is the fourth Rhodes finalist to hail from the ESS department in five years. Previous ESS winners were Aven Satre-Meloy (2014) and Sean Reilly (2018), and Lauren Cloward was a 2018 finalist.

Erika is also the recipient of a Fulbright research grant. She will be working in Lesotho with a solar microgrid enterprise OnePower, to better understand the economic impact of electrifying off-grid villages in the largely un-electrified country. Specifically, she will test the viability of offering business training and infrastructure to rural microgrid customers in an effort to simultaneously maximize income for customers and revenue for OnePower. Ensuring OnePower has a sustainable business model is a vital step in scaling up this system of electrification.

Update: Erika interviewed for the Rhodes in November but was not selected. We congratulate her on the tremendous honor of being a finalist and wish her luck on her Fulbright!"