Penn Grad Sarah-Jane Littleford Named Rhodes Scholar


PHILADELPHIA –- Sarah-Jane Littleford, a 2009 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for study at Oxford University in England.

Littleford, who is from Harare, Zimbabwe, was one of two Rhodes Scholars selected from that country. She learned of the honor today after an interview with the selection committee.

“I am delighted and humbled to have been selected as one of two Zimbabwe Rhodes Scholars for this year!” she said in an email this morning.

At Penn, Littleford earned a bachelor’s of arts degree magna cum laude with an individualized double major in sustainable development and environmental studies. She was selected as a student speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences graduation ceremony. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the use of the native African shrub Jatropha curcas, or physic nut, as a bio-fuel in Zimbabwe.

She intends to use the scholarship to earn a master’s degree in the Nature, Society and Environmental Policy program at Oxford.

Also, while at Penn, Littleford was named a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and served as a residential advisor in Gregory College House. She was also a member of the Penn Environmental Group, worked with the Urban Nutrition Initiative of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and the Global Development Initiative and served as a student coordinator for the International Student Orientation as well as two environmental conferences in the spring.

After graduation, she joined the staff in Penn’s Office of Sustainability where she assisted in the development of the University’s Climate Action Plan and is now working on Penn's 2010 Recyclemania competition. She also completed the U.S. Green Building Council’s “Green Build Basics and LEED” course.

In Zimbabwe, where she attended the Arundel School, she worked as a human resources intern with Zimbabwe Platinum Mines during summer 2007.

Littleford is the fifth Penn graduate to win a Rhodes since the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships was created 10 years ago.