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Bennie T.
Democrat MS 2

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  • Congratulating Miss Ericka Wheeler on Her Selection as a Rhodes Scholar

    by Representative Bennie G. Thompson

    Posted on 2015-12-03

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    THOMPSON of mississippi in the house of representatives Thursday, December 3, 2015 Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor an extraordinary young scholar, Miss Ericka Wheeler. Ericka is currently a senior at Millsap College majoring in English and History with plans to become a physician after watching her grandfather suffer from Alzheimer's disease.

    Ericka wrote a thesis tracking how police brutality and race have been treated in fiction since the 1930s. She attended Greenwood High School for two years, followed by her junior and senior year at the Mississippi School of Math and Science in Columbus.

    Her journeys so far have taken her from Mississippi to Cambodia and Cuba. Her next stop will be England, as a Rhodes Scholar. She is the first African-American woman from Mississippi to claim the prestigious honor and has been chosen as one of 32 U.S. men and women who will enter Oxford University next fall for postgraduate study. Ericka, who plans to attend medical school later, said she will study medical anthropology.

    Millsap's President Robert Pearigen said Wheeler's devotion to Mississippi's Delta region is part of what makes her special. ``She encountered some of the greatest poverty and starkest racial divisions found in the developed world,'' Pearigen said in a statement. ``She is bound to the place by a sense of duty but is motivated to care for it by a love for its people.'' Ericka said she was inspired to become a physician after watching her grandfather suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Since his death, she's worked with other Alzheimer's patients to record their life stories, producing documents for their families.

    Wheeler credited the impetus for her application to history Professor Robert McElvaine. As a student of McElvaine, Wheeler traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia after her freshman year and to Cuba after her sophomore year. ``I remember him saying the chances weren't very great at all, but it would be a good process to go through,'' Wheeler said. ``They didn't want to get my hopes up.'' I urge Miss Wheeler to continue to break barriers and strive for academic excellence.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing Miss Ericka Wheeler for her dedication to serving others and scholastic achievement.


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