College Corner: Questions and answers with Rhodes scholar, Tafadzwa Muguwe ’05

In December, Tafadzwa Muguwe ’05 found out that he had won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. The Daily Gazette recently caught up with Muguwe to talk to him about his achievement.

DG: What is the Rhodes Scholarship?

TM: The Rhodes scholarship was instituted in 1902 as per the will of Englishman Cecil John Rhodes. The scholarship is awarded to about 95 students each year from a select group of countries to study any program at Oxford University for up to 3 years. I was nominated as one of two Zimbabwean students to receive the scholarship for 2005.

DG: What made you decide to apply for the scholarship?

TM: The scholarship’s wide repute guarantees scholars the opportunity to meet individuals from all over the world with wide-ranging interests and talents. I anticipate that interacting with such people will enrich me in different ways. The scholarship also affords one the opportunity to study at the oldest university in the English-speaking world. I’m told it’s a great experience.

DG: What did you do when you found out that you won the scholarship?

TM: I received a phone call from Mr. Morgan on the evening of December 13. The moment he said, “Tafadzwa, I have good news for you…,” I couldn’t contain myself with excitement. I don’t think I heard much more after that–I ran off to tell my mother.

DG: What do you hope to study?

TM: A Master of Science degree in pharmacology.

DG: How has Swarthmore helped prepare you for your time at Oxford?

TM: As a biology student, I have learnt about different life forms, including humans, micro-organisms, and plants. I have also learnt about interactions between them, which can either benefit both parties or be detrimental to one as in disease. Through studying pharmacology, I hope to learn about the development of drugs against disease causing organisms. In that sense, I like to think of my Swarthmore biology background as complementary to my future studies at Oxford.

DG: What will you miss most about Swarthmore? What will you miss least?

TM: In theory, the academic and other qualities of Swarthmore can be recreated or found elsewhere, whereas individuals cannot be replaced. In that regard, I will miss people the most, especially those I have come to know over the years. In practice, I’m sure I’ll miss a host of other things as well because there is no other place like Swarthmore. I’m not sure what I will miss least.

DG: After studying at Oxford, what do you see yourself doing next?

TM: After Oxford, I intend to study for a MD/PhD in the United States.

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