Union College graduate becomes Rhodes Scholar – The Daily Gazette
Tawreak “Ty” Gamble-Eddington has yet to fully address the news.
Days after the 22-year-old Union College graduate learned he had been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to complete a Masters in Comparative Government at Oxford University starting next October, Gamble- Eddington is only beginning to come to terms with all of this. ways.
“It’s starting to sink a little deeper,” he said. “I think when you first hear it you don’t really realize it.”
Becoming a Rhodes Scholar – considered by many to be the world’s most prestigious international scholarship – is the latest in a long line of academic achievement for Gamble-Eddington, who grew up in a low-income household in Springfield, Massachusetts, and is the first member of his family to graduate from university.
He is currently studying for a Masters in Race, Ethnicity and Conflict at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, after receiving the George J. Mitchell Fellowship last year. The scholarship allows 12 US students to study in Ireland at no cost.
Those who know him are not surprised by his success, although his academic journey to become a human rights lawyer was one of hard work and persistence.
Gamble-Eddington – the second Rhodes Scholar in Union College history – credits his mother for initially igniting his interest in politics by getting him involved in his neighborhood council while in high school . This involvement eventually led him to volunteer for a number of local, state and national political campaigns where he would meet mentors who would help shape his outlook and encourage him to step out of his comfort zone.
Eventually, he ended up on the Union campus as part of the school’s Academic Opportunities Program, which provides first-generation students from low-income backgrounds with financial support and guidance.
He would seize the opportunity, obtaining with the highest honors last June degrees in political science and history.
While on campus, Gamble-Eddington took on a role as a community activist and held leadership positions in a number of organizations on campus, including the Black Student Union, Union Pride and positions at the within the college’s LGBTQ +, diversity and civic engagement committees.
He not only helped start the Union chapter of My Brother’s Keeper, a mentoring program that works with the youth of Schenectady, but also served as an intern in the office of US Representative Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam. He also hosted a series of on-campus talks with former members of Congress on current affairs.
âJust having a series of mentors who encouraged me to take the next step, to apply for something, to achieve, to keep pushing myself is what kept me involved, but me also kept interested in my academics, âsaid Gamble-Eddington. .
While at Union, he applied for dozens of scholarships to help cover the costs of new opportunities that allowed him to study in Washington DC, as well as abroad in Poland, Spain and Argentina. He estimates that he was rejected for two or three scholarships for each one he received.
But when one door closed, another opened for Gamble-Eddington.
âI was very lucky,â he says. “And I’m very aware that a lot of other people haven’t.”
Hard work pays off
His success comes as no surprise to those who worked with him throughout his academic career, including Robert Hislope, professor of political science at Union College.
Hislope first met Gamble-Eddington in the AOP summer program in 2017 and would become his advisor after enrolling in the political science program.
A “fierce reader,” Gamble-Eddington would help uplift others around him and extend classroom conversations beyond the topics spelled out in the curriculum, Hislope said.
He recalled that Gamble-Eddington had rendered in-depth research papers that went well beyond the limits required. A compulsory 20-page essay on Belgian political institutions, for example, turned into 50 pages.
âHe’s smart, but he also works incredibly hard,â Hislope said. âHe’s like artists or athletes who have natural skills, but they have to work at it. They are not resting on their laurels. They are always working diligently to improve their skills, and that really fits Ty.
Lynn Evans, Director of National Fellowships at the Union, agreed.
Evans estimates that Gamble-Eddington applied for at least 25 scholarships and scholarships while at the college.
“Right off the bat, he was just an incredibly hard-working student, willing to put in the time and effort to prepare solid applications for the opportunities he was very interested in,” she said. “I think this willingness to work to achieve the goals he set has served him really well over time.”
Evans recommended Gamble-Eddington to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship because she believed he was the perfect fit. She recommends that one or two students per year apply for the scholarship.
âEvery time someone looks at their resume, they ask how they put it all together,â she said. “So those traits that are sought after for Rhodes – academics, energy, incredible character, leadership, and concern for others – he really matched them all up perfectly.”
Gamble-Eddington, meanwhile, plans to complete his current master’s program next summer before returning to Springfield to spend time with his family.
He will then travel to Oxford next October to complete a two-year Masters in Comparative Government, where he plans to study how minorities are served in government institutions as well as how democratic institutions oppress the same groups.
âI’m probably going to do a comparative analysis of the United States with countries in Western Europe, probably focusing on blacks and other marginalized communities,â Gamble-Eddington said.
He hopes to become an international human rights lawyer, working either with the United Nations or with the International Court of Justice.
“I want to work with marginalized communities abroad, focusing on amplifying their voices in terms of human rights violations and focusing on how states can take away those rights or grant those rights,” Gamble-Eddington said.
Yet Gamble-Eddington has not lost sight of his accomplishments.
He hopes his story can inspire others who might find themselves in a similar situation.
âWhatever your background, always pursue your passions, even when others tell you not to,â said Gamble-Eddington. âSeize every opportunity that comes your way. “
After his stint at Oxford, Gamble-Eddington considered attending law school. A decision on which school he will attend has yet to be made, although he recently finished applying to more than a dozen schools, including Yale, Harvard and Columbia.
âI hope they let me differ,â he said.
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