Union College student, a native of Springfield, is now a Rhodes Scholar
A Union College graduate from Springfield, Massachusetts has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. Each year just before Thanksgiving, the Rhodes Trust announces the names of the newest Rhodes Scholars from the U.S.
Tawreak Gamble-Eddington, who graduated this year from Union College with honors in history and political science, is one of 32 selected from a pool of 826 candidates representing 247 American colleges.
Lynn Evans is Union's director of National Fellowships and Scholarships. Her office assisted Gamble-Eddington with the Rhodes Scholarship and other awards he has collected.
"So this is a huge deal for Union College," said Evans. "It's been decades since our last Rhodes Scholar, which was in 1984. Dr. Greg Meyer was selected back then. But it's been a long time. So I think Ty, he's been amazing to work with over the years. I've worked with him for four years. And he's just been so involved in everything on campus. I think he represents the possibilities that students can come in and really take advantage of the opportunities around them. And I think because he started so early in his exploration, that's why he's been able to accomplish so much."
Well known for his community activism and work through organizations including Union Pride, Black Student Union and the LGBTQ+ Committee, Gamble-Eddington is currently a Mitchell Scholar at Trinity College in Dublin, pursuing a degree in race, ethnicity, and conflict.
The Springfield, Massachusetts native says Evans opened many doors.
"And she told me about the Rhodes and all the amazing opportunities, the Rhodes and other scholarships like it had to offer," said Gamble-Eddington. "And so I started looking in to kind of postgraduate scholarships. I was in my junior, senior year, and I was trying to think about what do I do when I'm done, right? I was a bit lost in terms of what I'm actually going to do in my life with a Political Science and History degree. My mom had discouraged me from pursuing those things. But those were my passions, so I did them anyways. And so I was lucky enough in my senior year to become a George J. Mitchell scholar. And so I came over here to Ireland to do a master's degree. But it wasn't really exactly all that I wanted. I wanted to keep pursuing my interest in the social sciences and in political science. And so this past fall, I reapplied for the Rhodes. And luckily, I was accepted and I was a finalist. And then I did an interview this past weekend. And I got in, and I'm doing a master's in Political Science, with a focus on Comparative Government. And so ultimately, I want to do human rights law, international human rights law. And I want to focus on the way that democracies can help minorities express their rights, but also the ways in which democracies suppress those rights."
Rhodes scholarships average $70,000 per year and cover all expenses for up to four years of study. Scholars are free to study the full range of disciplines offered at Oxford, including life sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences, mathematics and the physical sciences.
Gamble-Eddington says he was always a good student but spread his wings and flourished at Union. He urges other students to be pro-active when it comes to expanding educational opportunities, to try and apply for scholarships like the Rhodes and Mitchell.
"I come from Springfield. It's a city that has a lot of blight, but I have a lot of pride in my hometown. But I never really known about things like this," Gamble-Eddington said. " wasn't encouraged to apply to them. People never told me about them. No one ever talked about them. So I think really reaching into communities like Schenectady, like Springfield, these communities that are predominately minority in some areas, and are pretty disadvantaged in terms of economic status, and really encouraging students to apply and see their potential in themselves, and think about what they want to do after college. I think it's something really important. And hopefully, the increasing diversity of the Rhodes and fellowships like this encourages students to do it. And they take that leap that leap of faith. Because really, for every accomplishment I've had, I've had probably two or three failures behind the scenes. But no one ever sees those, right? They only see the accomplishments. And you have to be willing to take that initial leap to really have the amazing opportunities in life."
Gamble-Eddington received the Frank Bailey (1885) Prize last spring at Union. It is awarded annually to the senior who has rendered the greatest service to the college in any field.