University of Michigan alumnus Emmanuel Orozco Castellanos has been named a 2024 Rhodes Scholar, one of 32 Americans chosen to win scholarships to Oxford University.
A December 2022 graduate of LSA, Orozco Castellanos became the 31st U-M Rhodes Scholar since the awards were established in 1902. He majored in international studies and minored in Latin American and Caribbean studies, and in critical translation studies.
“I am profoundly humbled and moved to the core,” he said. “I belong to a family of Mexican immigrants who came to the Detroit area six years ago and were welcomed with open arms. This outcome results from countless small acts of generosity we have received since we moved here.
“It also reaffirmed that migrants make enormous contributions to society when we allow them to forge their future. My parents — humble people and immigrant laborers — taught me so much about generosity and compassion. Though often unacknowledged, their contributions, as well as those of migrants across the country, have inspired me in my endeavors all these years.”
This year’s Rhodes Scholars will go to Oxford University in England in October 2024 to pursue graduate degrees across the breadth of the social sciences, humanities and biological and physical sciences. Orozco Castellanos will pursue two master’s degrees: one in refugee studies and one in Latin American studies.
For Orozco Castellanos, the scholarship propels students’ vision to do good in the world and provides a community where each individual is invested in solving humanity’s most daunting challenges.
“The University of Oxford pioneered the field of refugee studies in the 1980s,” he said. “I am ecstatic to learn from some of the world’s most prominent experts in the field, many of whom have worked as humanitarians and have a holistic view of the realities of forced displacement.”
As a Rhodes Scholar, Orozco Castellanos hopes to strengthen the inter-American asylum regime. Countries in the Western Hemisphere have a long tradition of welcoming refugees, he said, but the current regional cooperation and migration management mechanisms could be more efficient and humane.
The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees and provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford and during vacations, as well as transportation to and from England.
The total value of the scholarship varies depending on the academic field and the degree chosen, but averages about $75,000 per year, and up to as much as $250,000 for scholars who remain at Oxford for four years in specific departments.
“I accept this honor with a profound sense of responsibility,” Orozco Castellanos said. “Migrants and displaced people deserve the same level of respect I have received, and I hope to use my time at Oxford to work towards this goal, particularly during these dark times in humanity’s history.”