In addition to loved son and brother, reliable friend, outstanding student, and published researcher, Howard University senior Cameron Davis Clarke can now add Rhodes Scholar to his list of great feats.
“I didn’t even really believe it the first time when they announced it,” Clarke said of the moment when he first heard of his achievement—only a few minutes after the Rhodes interview on the weekend of Nov. 19.
Howard University senior Cameron Davis Clarke. (Facebook Photo)
The biology and community health double major seemed to be more surprised than his peers about the life-changing opportunity awarded to him.
“It’s not that it’s not incredible, but Cameron is just as incredible you know?” said Ruby LeMorin, a Howard University senior political science major and one of Clarke’s good friends since their freshman year. “I feel like as a friend-group, none of us ever have doubts that Cameron can get done all of the goals that he has in his life.”
Clarke is one of the 32 American college students selected for the 2017 Rhodes Scholars program. He is among seven students representing the Washington region selected to study at Oxford University in fall 2017.
“Cameron’s very ambitious and he struck me as a very mature young man who was focused in terms of what he wanted to do” said Krista Johnson, Clarke’s faculty adviser at the Howard chapter of Globemed, a network of 58 university based chapters established in 2007 by students that aims to strengthen the movement for global health equity by empowering students and communities to work together to improve the health of people living in poverty around the world”.
Since coming to Howard from Jersey City in 2013, Clarke has spent his undergraduate career demonstrating his hunger for world solutions through extensive study and activism. Clarke’s interest in medicine led to experiences such as his time as a field researcher at Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar University and as a Amgen Scholar at the National Institute of Health. The 21 year-old currently serves on the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
“Community health was a choice because I realized that health isn’t just about the state of disease, you have to take a holistic standpoint when you want to address any type of health issue” said Clarke. “So biology was sort of like for when I want to go into practicing medicine and the community health is for prevention and working in policy.”
While growing up in Jersey City, Clarke attended Dr. Ronald E. McNair High School, one of the top performing public high schools in the country. Though reluctant at first, he eventually joined his older brother Malcolm Clarke at Howard University, where he continued building his academic development and produced strong friendships. After graduating from Howard next summer, Clarke will pursue a masters degree in primary health at the University of Oxford where he will study alongside 95 other world scholars for two years.
“He’s like the friend that whenever you need something, he’s able to assist,” said Howard senior Kalen Kennedy. Kennedy and Clarke became friends their senior year at McNair and both came to Howard University as freshmen in fall 2013. “Like no matter what it is, which is kind of weird. He’s one of those people that’s kind of good at a lot of different things.”
Clarke spoke of the importance of getting an early start in one’s educational development and not allowing fear to drive away opportunities.
“I think a lot of times people tend to back out of things because they think it’s going to be overwhelming or it might be too much or they might not be able to handle it but the good thing about taking an opportunity is if it ends up being too much you can always drop out,” said Clarke. “If you never take it in the first place, then you never get the chance to see how much you’re able to do.”
When he’s not studying, working or bicycling through Howard’s campus, Clarke said he enjoys writing.
“I like to write. I think I’ve realized over the past seven semesters that writing is kind of therapeutic for me. I definitely like to write for myself and for audiences,” he said.
Clarke joins prior Rhodes Scholars and Howard University alumni Mark Alleyne, Carla Peterman, and Marianna Ofosu