First American-born child of Afghan immigrants becomes first Rhodes Scholar winner from SCSU


Conn. (WTNH) — A Southern Connecticut State Univerisity student is now a Rhodes Scholar winner for 2021. The news was announced Sunday.

According to Forbes, 32 students across the United States were picked and they are among the most diverse winners of the scholarship.

RELATED: US Rhodes Scholars chosen virtually for the 1st time

Asma Rahimyar, 20, is majoring in politics and international studies, pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in philosophy. She is the first American-born child of Afghan immigrants and the first-ever Rhodes winner from SCSU.

Asma tells News 8 she has a strong will to help women in Afghanistan.

“I feel very strongly about it. Just on a more micro level…I have a little cousin and she’s about 7-years-old, and she said that she looks up to me. And when I think about her and I think of her large, unblinking eyes and her being able to look up to me as an Afghan Muslim woman who goes out into the world and aspires to achieve really big things but doesn’t have to compromise any of who she is. I want to lift other women up without them feeling as if they need to compromise who they are or mitigate the power of their voice in order to be heard.”

Governor Ned Lamont tweeted out congratulations to Asma Sunday saying, “Connecticut is incredibly proud of your academic achievement and excellence. Well deserved!”

Asma will be among more than 100 students representing 60 countries. Those scholars will begin their studies at the University of Oxford next October.

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