History Concentrator Kate Reed Wins Rhodes Scholarship

Nov. 19, 2018

Kate Reed, along with Nicolette D’Angelo and John Hoffmeyer, are the three Princeton seniors who have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at the University of Oxford.

They are among 32 American recipients of the prestigious fellowships, which fund two to three years of graduate study at Oxford. Last month, Princeton senior Samvida Sudheesh Venkateshwas awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for India. The students will begin their studies at Oxford in October 2019.

Katharine (Kate) Reed

Reed, of Arnold, Maryland, is majoring in history with certificates in Latin American studies and Spanish. At Oxford, she plans to pursue the M.Phil. in Development Studies.

Reed’s research focuses on the relationship between the U.S. and Latin America, and how shared histories shape the present. She is a two-time recipient of Princeton’s Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa this fall. She is a member of Rockefeller College.

“In over a quarter century of teaching at Princeton University, I have never had the pleasure of working with such a brilliant and original student,” said Jeremy Adleman, the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History. “She is independent, a leader, articulate — and thoughtful and caring. Normally I am averse to genetic claims about peoples’ preferences, but Kate Reed is a born historian.”

After earning her degree at Oxford, Reed plans to pursue a Ph.D. in history and hopes to work as a professor and educator, thinking about the ways history can help create a more empathetic present and future. 

“At and after Oxford, I would like my work to trace the history of how we understand others, and consequently ourselves, and how a more nuanced understanding of our past might encourage greater empathy in our present,” Reed said. “I have had incredible opportunities to conduct archival research in the U.S. and Mexico, to develop classes on global history and immigration policy for immigrant students, to translate hundreds of pages for nonprofits, and to run campaigns for immigrant rights in New Jersey — experiences that have informed my desire to work at the intersection of academia and activism.”

She continued: “I am convinced of the power of history in our present. I am convinced of its power to impel change, to cause us to reconsider our identities and those of others. Above all, I am convinced of its power to encourage empathy, and would like to spend my life — across research, teaching, and activism — engaging with this potential to create a more empathetic, more humane, world.”

Reed has received the Lawrence Stone and Shelby Cullom Davis Prize from Princeton’s Department of History and the Paul A. Stellhorn Award in New Jersey History. Her work has been accepted for publication in “A Contracorriente: A Journal of Latin American Studies” and “Nacla Report on the Americas.” She is co-founder of the Undergraduate Latin American History Workshop and a peer tutor for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She has also worked as a research assistant to three faculty members in the history department.

In 2017-18, she was an undergraduate course assistant for the class “A History of the World since 1300,” where she helped to create and teach an ESL-adapted history class for recent migrant students at Princeton High School; she continues to assist in the school’s ESL class. She is a project leader and ESL instructor with El Centro ESL through the Pace Center for Civic Engagement. The program provides free daily English classes to adult immigrants in Trenton and Princeton.

This summer, as an intern with the immigrant rights organization Make the Road NJ, Reed ran the organization’s ESL program in addition to helping with other research, community-building and advocacy projects. In summer 2017, she interned in Mexico City with the International Internship Program, working at GENDES, A.C., a nonprofit that seeks to combat gender-based violence in Mexico through research, community work and rehabilitation programs.