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Penn Grad Sarah-Jane Littleford: Rhodes Scholar
December 22, 2009, Volume 56, No. 16



Sarah-Jane Littleford, C’09, who works at Penn in the Office of Sustainability as a liaison for the Green Campus Partnership, has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for study at Oxford University in England.

Ms. Littleford, who is from Harare, Zimbabwe, was one of two Rhodes Scholars selected from that country. She learned of the honor on December 14 after an interview with the selection committee.

“I am delighted and humbled to have been selected as one of two Zimbabwe Rhodes Scholars for this year!” she said.

At Penn, Ms. Littleford earned a bachelor’s of arts degree magna cum laude with an individualized double major in sustainable development and environmental studies. She was selected as a student speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences graduation ceremony. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the use of the native African shrub Jatropha curcas, or physic nut, as a bio-fuel in Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe, where she attended the Arundel School, she worked as a human resources intern with Zimbabwe Platinum Mines during summer 2007.

She intends to use the scholarship to earn a master’s degree in the Nature, Society and Environmental Policy program at Oxford.

Also, while at Penn, Ms. Littleford was named a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and served as a residential advisor in Gregory College House. She was also a member of the Penn Environmental Group, worked with the Urban Nutrition Initiative of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and the Global Development Initiative and served as a student coordinator for the International Student Orientation as well as two environmental conferences in the spring. In her final semester, she worked for the Environmental Protection Agency in Philadelphia, and she produced a white paper on mountaintop mining in West Virginia.

After graduation, she joined the staff in Penn’s Office of Sustainability where she assisted in the development of the University’s Climate Action Plan. She also worked with the University Travel Office to develop a greenhouse gas offset program for faculty/staff air travel and with Admissions officers to educate them about Penn’s sustainability initiatives. She also completed the US Green Building Council’s “Green Build Basics and LEED” course.

Ms. Littleford is the fifth Penn graduate to win a Rhodes Scholarship since the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships was created 10 years ago.

Almanac - December 22, 2009, Volume 56, No. 16