Chase Breaux ’24 has racked up accolades at a pace that easily makes him one of the most awarded students in Wabash’s history. Now, the political science major and Black studies minor from Houston, Texas, can add another major accomplishment to his resume: Rhodes Scholarship finalist.
The Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most sought-after international scholarships in the world, funds two years of graduate studies for its scholars at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. Scholars also participate in retreats, workshops, conferences, and discussions, as well as social events at Rhodes House in central Oxford.
“I was honored when I got the news that I was named a finalist,” Breaux said. “For me, it means they saw the value in the work I’ve done and my potential for creating positive change in the future.”
Breaux said he applied to be a scholar because he believes the program is an opportunity for him to gain the credentials and skillset needed to be effective in creating transformative change in the fields of public policy and law.
“Having grown up in poverty,” Breaux said, “affordability has always been an issue for me when it comes to higher education, and Rhodes can help me overcome that barrier.”
Each year, 32 scholars from the United States are selected based in part on academic excellence, commitment to service, ambition for social impact, and leadership potential.
Susan Albrecht, Wabash’s fellowship advisor, said she has supreme confidence in Breaux and believes he is a terrific fit for the Rhodes Scholarship.
“Whether one sees Chase as a changemaker, an activist, or a revolutionary—he sees himself as all three—there is no question that he seeks to and will make a difference in this world,” Albrecht said. “With the resources and connection to cohort that the Rhodes affords, that difference could be made even more profound.”
Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process. First, applicants must be endorsed by their college or university. From there, selection committees in each of the 16 U.S. districts review materials and invite the strongest candidates to participate in interviews.
As a finalist, Breaux will participate in interviews next week and will be notified if he is a winner shortly after. If he is awarded the scholarship, he will be the 10th Rhodes Scholar to graduate from Wabash, following, most recently, Jacob Burnett ’15.
“If selected, I hope to pursue master’s degrees in criminology and criminal justice at the University of Oxford,” he said. “Through the cohort experience, I hope to gain a global perspective by learning from fellow scholars from around the world and across disciplines.”
Breaux has distinguished himself at Wabash through a variety of campus leadership roles and academic achievement. He was co-president of ’shOUT; rush committee co-chair of Kappa Sigma fraternity; is a member of the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies, where he served as Alumni Committee chair; co-chair of Student Senate’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee; a democracy fellow for the Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse initiative; a staff writer for The Bachelor; and participates in the Wabash Liberal Arts Immersion Program.
Additionally, Breaux has won three different nationally-competitive fellowships. He’s earned an Obama-Chesky Voyager Scholarship for Public Service, a Gilman Scholarship, and Point Foundation Flagship Scholarship.
In addition to Rhodes, Breaux plans on attending law school. His ultimate goal is to become a prosecutor and then District Attorney back in his home county in Texas.
“In this position, I hope to create a model for a fair prosecutorial process defined by equal treatment and protection under the law,” Breaux said.
Jill Lamberton, English professor and special assistant to the president for diversity, equity, and inclusion, said she is confident Breaux can achieve those dreams.
“Chase’s many leadership roles at Wabash College attest to his ability to build coalitions and his unwavering commitment to making a difference in his community, wherever he finds himself,” Lamberton said. “His most fervent passion is for prison reform and legal reform more broadly. This is where he expects to spend his energy, intellectual commitment, and time—supported by the full force of his moral convictions—in the near future. I expect to be reading about this young man and his virtue-based leadership for decades to come.”