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~Heather Long Wins Prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for 2004~

For immediate release:
November 25, 2003

Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- -- Senior Heather Long has added a Rhodes Scholarship to the honors she has accumulated at Wellesley College.

The Rhodes Scholarship was created in 1902 by British philanthropist and colonial pioneer, Cecil Rhodes. Long was chosen through a three-stage process including an endorsement from Wellesley and selection on a state and regional level. She competed with 963 applicants, of whom about 32 will win the honor. Scholars are selected based on high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, leadership potential and physical vigor, according to scholarship information.

Long is thrilled to be a Rhodes Scholar, saying, "It feels like you won the Publisher's Clearinghouse Award for academics. You never think you are going to get it but when you do you are in shock for a couple of days. It's wonderful. It's been a far-off dream to go to (the University of) Oxford and study there. I'm particularly interested in studying medieval literature and I am excited to go to Oxford and study their extensive collection."

Long is especially gratified by this honor since reading didn't come easily to her. As a child, she suffered from learning disabilities and didn't learn to read until fourth or fifth grade.

"So many people have helped me out in my life, particularly my teachers," Long said. "My fifth-grade teacher finally saw through it and actually suggested I might be gifted. I always wanted to give back to people and my teacher just said to me, 'Pass it on, just pass it on.'"

Long has been passing on the love of learning ever since, particularly as a volunteer teacher of literature to women behind bars. In fact, this work may have had the biggest impact on her Rhodes Scholarship.

"A huge part of my Rhodes application was on working in the prison system," said Long said, who began working with women prisoners at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Framingham as a first-year student at Wellesley. "I helped them produce a newspaper and I won a Wellesley community service grant to produce a special edition of a magazine, Behind the Walls." With the help of another grant, she founded the Wellesley Book Club, in which students lead discussion groups in the prison.

"Literature helps them learn how to think critically," Long said. "Only about 50 percent have graduated from high school – but many of these women applied to the prison's college program after learning to think in a deeper way. It's been great to encourage people to go on in their own studies."

The Rhodes Scholarship will support two years of study at Oxford with a possible third year extension. "I am hoping for second B.A. in English and modern history from Oxford," she said. "That's a two year program, and I am hoping to get a third year to get a master's in English. I am interested in doing cultural studies, particularly in economics and political analysis of literature."

Long, an English and economics major, is currently studying at the University of Navarra, Spain, as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She's been an intern for Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, authored a study on hate crimes for the Pennsylvania attorney general's office and worked on the Criminal Justice Task Force in Massachusetts. Earlier this year she was named Wellesley's Katharine Malone Scholar; she won the Malone Sophomore Prize in 2002.

The daughter of Charles and Carole Long of Mechanicsburg, Pa., she has served as Student Bursar on the College Government Cabinet and as a student representative to the Board of Trustees' Finance Committee and the Budget Advisory Committee to the President. She also has been a staff writer for the student newspaper, The Wellesley News and Counterpoint Magazine.

Her future plans seem to be as deep and wide as her interests thus far. "I would like to teach English at the collegiate level and behind bars to prison parolees," Long said, "as well as become a college president one day."

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries.


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