W&L Outcomes: Tahri Phillips ’23 Tahri Phillips ’23 will be pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.
Post-Grad Plans: Graduate Student/Rhodes Scholar
Areas of Study: English, cognitive and behavioral science, and Africana studies
What will you be doing after graduation?
I will be a graduate student/Rhodes Scholar pursuing a master of philosophy in evidence-based social intervention and policy evaluation at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
What internships or other summer experiences did you partake in, and how did those experiences shape you and your career plans?
I worked in the Admissions Office at my high school, Linden Hall, for the first two summers after graduating from high school. I gave tours to prospective students, families and domestic consultants; did data entry; restructured training material for student ambassadors; and designed virtual admissions events for fall 2020. Then, I spent the past two summers working at Attollo Prep, first as a programs intern and then as the summer intern lead. Attollo is a nonprofit college access and leadership program for high school juniors and seniors in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There, I mentored students and helped with their college search, application and decision process through summer programs and national college tours. These positions made it clear that my passion is in educational equity and accessibility, and I now plan to work to better foster educational spaces where students feel heard, wanted and respected.
How did Career Development support you, and which resources did you find most helpful?
I can’t even tell you how much time I spent with Dr. Loar. I’m a part of his fan club because I truly would not be where I am today without his help over the past year and a half. From countless meetings, emails and phone calls, he was there to help me every step of the way through the application process. There were significant scholarships that I didn’t receive, but he was always supportive, reminding me that not receiving those awards didn’t define my value or reflect my effort and that big things were still coming. And he was right.
What did you study here, and what are some skills or learnings you will take from your academic experience into the professional world?
I double majored in English and cognitive and behavioral science and minored in Africana studies. I always joke and say that I studied people—what drives us, the stories we tell, and the experiences that shape us. Through these programs, I’ve become more empathetic, more patient, and a more thoughtful and effective writer and communicator. I was constantly shown that the world is so much bigger than the circles we exist in, and creating a world that we want to live in requires grace, kindness, cooperation and shared investment in each other.
What career-related advice would you give to next year’s graduating class?
Seek out opportunities that align with your values and your passions but also push you outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions of the people and organizations you are joining; ask them where they stand on issues that are meaningful to you. It’s okay to be critical!
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