For the second time in UMBC’s history, Samuel Patterson has earned the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Naomi Mburu (’18 Chemical Engineering) won the award in 2017. Established in 1902, the Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and perhaps most prestigious international scholarship program in the world, enabling outstanding young people from around the world to undertake full-time postgraduate study at the University of Oxford, (ranked first internationally in the Times Higher Education rankings for 2017 and 2018). Sam was one of only thirty-two students selected from nearly 1,000 applicants, for his outstanding scholarly achievements, his outstanding character, his commitment to others and to the common good, and for his potential for leadership in his academic field.
At UMBC, Sam is earning a triple degree in Economics, Mathematics, and Statistics. He is a member of the Honors College and a Meyerhoff Scholar. He has participated in three high-level internship experiences: one, with the Harvard Leadership Alliance; another at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business; and most recently at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he evaluated the COVID-induced changes with regard to public transportation usage trends in cities such as New York, resulting in a forthcoming publication. He has consistently been named to the Dean’s and President’s lists at UMBC. His research interests include transportation economics, and bringing together those doing advocacy work and those doing research, introducing new ideas to government leaders and creating real change by providing opportunities for people to escape poverty. His work asks questions about how people access their jobs, schools, hospitals, food, election polls, cultural institutions, via public transportation, and how that access can be improved.
If that isn’t enough, Sam is a dedicated musician who plays multiple instruments and produces music, avidly collects funk music records, and performs locally with his bands. Sam is from Marietta, Georgia, but quickly made Arbutus his home. As the Music Director of the Retriever Music Society, he has performed at OCA Mocha, the UMBC-owned, student-run coffee shop in Arbutus. He has also worked as a volunteer for Creative Coders, an after-school program at Arbutus Middle School, teaching public school children computer coding skills, and he even made efforts to save Mike’s pizza shop in Arbutus when it was going out of business as a result of the COVID pandemic.
The Rhodes Scholarship is a life-changing opportunity for exceptional young people with the potential to make a difference for good in the world. Sam has that rare mixture of grit and excellence that is the best of what UMBC represents. His experience in the U.K. will enrich not only his academic path, but also his personal journey in so many profound ways. We can’t wait to see what he can accomplish with the support he will receive from this scholarship.
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