The Boulder City Council on Tuesday recognized the achievements of CU Boulder journalism and political science senior Serene Singh, who is the university’s first woman Rhodes Scholar.
Singh accepted the honor in the company of family and friends, including her mother, Nitu Singh, and her sister, Naureen Singh. Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones read from a declaration that listed many of Singh’s achievements as a student and individual.
“We, the members of the Boulder City Council, honor and applaud her personal and academic accomplishments and her commitment to improving the lives of others,” Jones said.
Singh said, “I would be remiss if I did not stop and say ‘thank you’ to each and every one of you who have helped me. It took a city. It took a state. It took a family. It took a lot of people to get me to this point.”
Also in attendance to honor and acknowledge Singh’s accomplishments as an undergraduate student were CU Boulder Provost Russell Moore and Lori Bergen, the dean of the College of Media, Communication and Information (CMCI).
“We could not be prouder of Serene and the way she carries forward the values of our campus, representing its global diversity and abundant humanity with joy, compassion, honor and integrity,” Moore said.
The provost recognized both Singh and CU Boulder student Nikki van den Heever, who was also a Rhodes Scholarship finalist this year, and talked about how rare it is for two finalists to come from the same institution in a single year.
“These are the kinds of students we are recruiting in Colorado and across the nation—students who make innovations inside and outside the classroom, students who will be the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.
Bergen told city council members and the Singh family that she had spoken to Singh’s professors, and many expressed common themes in talking about their student, describing her as “an empathetic listener, a gifted communicator and a quick study.”
Under the prestigious scholarship program, Singh will pursue double master’s degrees in criminology and criminal justice and evidence-based social intervention and policy evaluation at Oxford University in England next fall. She is among 32 Americans who received the scholarship this year.
The Colorado Springs native is the 20th CU Boulder student to claim the coveted Rhodes Scholarship.
Earlier this year, Singh was awarded the Truman Scholarship and was named a Marshall Scholarship finalist.
She is a member of the Presidents Leadership Class, is a Boettcher Scholar, is the founder of the Colorado Bhangra Team and the National Sikh Youth Program, is president of the Sikh Student Association, is president of the Political Science Honor Society, is a nationally certified speech and debate coach for 3P Speech, and serves as chief justice for CU Student Government.
Singh also works with Michelle Obama and the Global Girls Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation that seeks to empower adolescent girls around the world through education.
In addition, Singh founded the nonprofit The Serenity Project: Brave Enough to Fly, which works to “uplift women who have been marginalized” and to expand notions of female beauty and power.