Bellarmine Alumnus Named Rhodes Scholar

Posted: November 21, 2017

Sean Reilly, a Bellarmine alumnus from the class of 2012, has been named one of only 32 American Rhodes Scholars for 2018.

A Rhodes Scholarship provides all expenses for two to three years of study at England’s University of Oxford. Individuals selected as Rhodes Scholars are chosen for their scholarly achievements, character, commitment to others and to the common good, and their leadership potential.

Reilly, who earned a degree in environmental science and biology from Santa Clara University in 2016, is currently a Fulbright Scholar working on invasive species management with an Aboriginal Ranger group in Australia. He plans to begin his studies at Oxford next fall, undertaking two one-year master's programs while there - the first in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing and the second in Environmental Change and Management. "I am incredibly excited to have been selected ... and honored that they (the Rhodes Trust) deemed my environmental work worthy of their investment," said Reilly. "The knowledge I gain at Oxford will enable me to assist communities in developing management plans that foster a mutually-beneficial coexistence with their natural surroundings."

Reilly credits several Bellarmine experiences as the genesis for his focus on the environment, including the AP Environmental Science course, the yearly Summit on Human Dignity, and his participation in the Guatemala immersion and student clubs such as the Student Environmental Action Society (SEAS) and Gang Green. "During my junior year, Bellarmine held a week-long environmental summit, during which I met many inspiring people fighting for our environment and more livable communities. To this day, I remember being inspired and empowered coming out of that event ... (even though) I had no idea where that path would lead. My experiences in Guatemala (also) made it very clear to me that environmental management must work on both community and environmental levels to be successful."

“We are so proud of Sean and the environmental research that he is doing,” said Kristina Luscher, Bellarmine principal. “His leadership in Environmental Science makes him a true role model for our students.”

Patrick Adams, chair of Bellarmine’s Science Department, fondly recalls Reilly’s years at Bellarmine. “He was always well organized, enthusiastic and hard working in his pursuit of environmental justice for all. This is a terrific and well-deserved honor.”

Reilly is believed to be the third Bellarmine alumnus to be named as a Rhodes Scholar.

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