Weinberg senior named 2023 Rhodes Scholar for international service


Photo courtesy of Northwestern Now

Irena Petryk. She is one of 32 Rhodes Scholars studying in the U.S.

Charlotte Ehrlich, Assistant Campus Editor

Weinberg senior Irena Petryk was named a 2023 Rhodes Scholar, Northwestern announced Monday.

The scholarship, which awards students for exceptional academic achievement and demonstrated ambition for social impact, grants them an all-expenses-paid opportunity to study at the University of Oxford.

Petryk is one of 32 Rhodes Scholars selected from the U.S. this year. Growing up as a daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, Petryk’s background has inspired her to serve numerous communities, from Ukrainian refugees to women from Niger and Benin, to whom she teaches leadership skills via a Chicago-based nonprofit.

At NU, Petryk researches how poor households in developing countries respond to and find community through challenging events like family illness and floods, according to economics Prof. Lori Beaman.

“We are thrilled to see a Weinberg College student recognized as a Rhodes Scholar,” Weinberg Dean Adrian Randolph said in the news release. “Irena’s service, work and vision for the future embody the mindset at the College — to not only understand the pressing issues our world faces today but to transform them into promising new opportunities for the future.”

Besides conducting research, Petryk studies economics and international studies at NU. She also helped found Northwestern’s Ukrainian Club, for which she helped run a bake sale, host a campus vigil and organize a concert for Ukraine since the Russian invasion of the country in February.

In addition to her studies at NU, Petryk currently interns with the White House Council of Economic Advisors, which advises the president on economic policy based on data, research and evidence, according to the release.

“The Rhodes Trust seeks scholars who ‘stand up for the world,’” Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, director of the University’s Office of Fellowships, said. “At only twenty years old, Irena has already devoted her remarkable talents to the service of others in West Africa, Southeast Asia, the American Midwest and Ukraine.”

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