Academy cadet on the road to Oxford
By Butch Wehry, Academy Spirit staff writer
/ Published December 08, 2009
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --
The Air Force Academy's newest Rhodes Scholar said she visited several schools in her search for a university but could not pass up the sense of purpose she felt here.
"I was greatly impressed by the honor code and the feeling of family among the cadets that I visited," said Cadet 1st Class Brittany Morreale. "I thirsted to be part of an institution built on trust, brotherhood, and adventure. The Academy was where I found all of these things and more."
Cadet Morreale is one of 32 Rhodes Scholarship winners for 2009, becoming the 36th cadet to win. She is a physics major with a minor in Japanese and is also a cross-country runner.
"I began a year ago working on essays with the graduate studies department and have been working hard on revisions and improvements since that time," said the cadet from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. "We began a rigorous interview process at the beginning of this semester with two interviews to narrow the field of applicants and hone our interviewing skills."
They submitted their applications at the end of October and heard that they received interviews during the second week in November.
"At that point preparation consumed our lives for a few weeks," she said. "I met several times with the other cadets interviewing for the scholarship as well as advisors and mentors. We also had three full length practice interviews followed by immediate feedback from the panel."
She felt thoroughly prepared when she entered the Rhodes Interview.
"From the time I started, I planned to work my hardest to get the opportunity to go to grad school right after graduating from the Academy," Cadet Morreale said. "In that sense, this has always been something I dreamed and pursued."
But she never expected to win a Rhodes Scholarship.
"I truly attribute this success to the inspiration and encouragement I have received from all of the amazing people I have been surrounded by at the Academy," she said.
She said she knows the doors of hope have opened to her.
"I hope it opens doors for me to eventually become a strategic leader and gives me the skill to shape future policy for the Air Force and the United States," she said. "I hope to be the voice of the Air Force and the United States among the group of Rhodes Scholars and some of the world's greatest scholars at Oxford. I will passionately work to gain the skills and understanding necessary to help shape the military policies of the 21st century."
She will happily fly anything she is allowed.
"I'm currently working on getting a height waiver approved because I am an inch below the minimum, so I just hope and pray that I get the opportunity to fly," Cadet Morreale said. "But whatever God has planned for me, I will gladly accept and fulfill wholeheartedly."
Cadet Morreale said her reactions to winning the scholarship were shock, excitement, and relief.
"I'm shocked that I was chosen from such an incredible group of peers to receive this scholarship," she said. "I'm excited to be among the world's greatest academicians and for the future opportunities that this experience will open up. And finally, I'm relieved to have achieved my long sought after goal of attending the best graduate school possible."
The Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest and best-known award for international study, were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. Applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in the will, including high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor.