"There are a lot of people who promoted that in my life, but it really started and ended, I think, with my faith," said Dobyns, who also was a volunteer firefighter at Cornell.
For Rachel Myrick, a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student, a trip with a nonprofit to Cambodia inspired her interest in studying the causes and consequences of ethnic conflict.
"I learned a lot about genocide reconstruction," she said. "It's been an intellectual and personal interest."
Rhodes Scholar Amanda Frickle, of Bozeman, Mont., plans to pursue dual masters programs — one in women's studies and the other possibly in public policy. Frickle, 23, majored in history and political economy, and graduated summa cum laude from The College of Idaho. Much of her academic work has been in gender studies.
"I've always been interested in feminist theory," Frickle said, later adding, "I see feminist activism as a vehicle to achieve broader social justice."
Georgianna Whiteley, of Wayzata, Minnesota, wants to become a doctor dealing with global health issues.
Whiteley, 21, is a senior at Luther College, in Decorah, Iowa, where she is majoring in chemistry and minoring in biology. She said she has always wanted to be a doctor, but her path toward becoming a Rhodes Scholar started in her sophomore year when she spent her January term in Tanzania, studying the Maasai, one of the indigenous cultures in the east African country.
"I came back from Tanzania with the idea that I no longer just wanted to be a physician, but a physician that is not only culturally sensitive but deals with more global health issues and global health inequities," Whiteley said.
Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes and have a value of about $50,000 per year.
The American students will join an international group of scholars selected from 14 other jurisdictions around the world. About 80 scholars are selected each year.
Associated Press writers Alex Dominguez in Baltimore; Michelle Janaye Nealy in Chicago; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, S.C.; Kristi Eaton in Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis contributed to this report.