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Ashlynn Burrows

SU's Burrows Named Rhodes Scholarship Finalist

By SU Public Relations

SALISBURY, MD---When Ashlynn Burrows of Edgewater, MD, enrolled at Salisbury University nearly four years ago, she could not have imagined where that decision would take her.

The senior communication and conflict analysis and dispute resolution major recently found herself at a social event in Washington, D.C., with 13 additional district finalists for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest international program of its kind in the world.

Though Burrows was not selected for the award, the experience was rewarding in itself, giving her the opportunity to network with like-minded peers, as well as seven committee members from the Rhodes Trust, which administers the program.

“It was an easygoing environment,” she said. “They made it much less intimidating than we finalists thought it was going to be.”

An individual interview with the committee members followed. Burrows was excited to represent SU as only the second Rhodes Scholar finalist in the institution’s history.

“It’s not an experience I would take for granted,” she said. “It was amazing.”

It also wasn’t something she ever dreamed of doing. Following a successful Maryland Public Service Scholar fellowship with Chesapeake Conservancy, a Chesapeake Bay-based ecological non-profit in Annapolis, last summer, her fellowship mentor, Dr. Kristen Walton, encouraged her to seek additional opportunities, including this one.

“While Ashlynn was not selected for the Rhodes, she shined in her interview and made Salisbury look great,” said Walton, director of SU’s Nationally Competitive Fellowships Office. “She did a wonderful job.”

She did such an outstanding job that Walton also encouraged her to apply for a 2024-25 English teaching assistantship through the Fulbright Student program, America’s flagship national exchange program. If successful, she will spend part of the next year in the Czech Republic.

“Dr. Walton sees a lot of potential in me that sometimes I don’t see in myself,” said Burrows, a Nationally Competitive Fellowships Office ambassador who praised the initiative as a highlight of her SU experience.

“Working with Dr. Walton and everyone in that office has been absolutely the best thing ever,” she said. “They really invest in making sure you are prepared for whatever the next step is.”

For her Rhodes interview, that included practice interviews with SU faculty, as well as a social hour with students on campus to help relieve any potential anxiety about the setting.

“I felt very prepared going into that,” she said.

Looking toward the future, Burrows plans to begin applying to graduate programs soon, with an interest in pursuing a master’s degree in international affairs or public policy.

She would like to parlay her experience and education into a crisis, stabilization and governance officer position with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which extends assistance to countries with goals including disaster recovery, poverty reduction and strengthening democratic governance.

“At least that’s the first step I hope to be able to get to,” she said.

And after that?

“If I was really reaching for the stars, hopefully one day I’ll be the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.”

If she is successful, that trip to the stars — or United Nations Headquarters in New York — will all have begun with her experiences at Salisbury University.

Learn more about SU and opportunities to Make Tomorrow Yours at the SU website.