Jennifer (Jenna) Hebert from Pittsburgh, Pa., is among 32 American college students who were selected for a Rhodes Scholarship and Adebisi (Debi) Ogunrinde from Halifax, Nova Scotia, is one of 11 recipients from Canada.
“All of us at Penn could not be more proud of Jenna and Debi,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “They embody the finest attributes of young scholars, each making a profound difference in the world. They are truly deserving of this prestigious recognition.
“Jenna is making her mark in the world of neuroscience research, as an exceptional young scientist, an extraordinary athlete and a community volunteer, devoting her time and expertise to help others. Debi is already making a difference locally and globally through her research on discrimination against South African Rastafarians, her social impact research project in Lagos, Nigeria, and her volunteer work to assist West Philadelphia community members gain financial literacy and college application skills. These two extraordinary women are role models for students everywhere.”
Hebert, who will graduate in May 2016 from Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in the biological basis of behavior, plans to pursue a master’s degree in psychiatry at Oxford. Her senior honors thesis focuses on the effects of nicotine and stress on neural circuitry. She has published in Frontiers in Neuroscience and presented at the Society for Neuroscience’s conference. She has had a seat on the first varsity boat on the varsity boat on the Penn Women’s Rowing Team since her freshman year and competed on the U.S. National Rowing Team.
Hebert was elected to Phi Beta Kappa during her junior year, while finding time to serve as a volunteer at the Philadelphia Adaptive Rowing Club, assisting and instructing physically and cognitively disabled rowers. She has studied the mechanisms underlying memory and has been drawn to drug addiction research.
In addition to her research and involvement in social entrepreneurship and engagement, Ogunrinde continues to pursue her interest in competitive debate at Penn, something she has participated in since high school when she led the Canadian national debate team and coached the Zimbabwe national debate team. She also conducts additional research for the Wharton Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research as part of the Ideas for Action team in collaboration with the World Bank.
Both Hebert and Ogunrinde applied for the Rhodes Scholarship with assistance from Penn's Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.
“We at CURF are extremely pleased that the Rhodes committee recognized Jenna's commitment to improving the world through her work understanding the biological basis of behavior,” said Wallace Genser, CURF senior associate director for fellowships and operations.
“We are also extremely proud that Debi is the recipient of a Rhodes in recognition of her academic achievement and ongoing commitment to serving marginalized communities in Philadelphia and throughout the world."