College Corner: Questions and answers with Rhodes scholar, Tafadzwa Muguwe ’05

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

In December, Tafadzwa Muguwe ’05 found out that he had won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. The Daily Gazette recently caught up with Muguwe to talk to him about his achievement.

DG: What is the Rhodes Scholarship?

TM: The Rhodes scholarship was instituted in 1902 as per the will of Englishman Cecil John Rhodes. The scholarship is awarded to about 95 students each year from a select group of countries to study any program at Oxford University for up to 3 years. I was nominated as one of two Zimbabwean students to receive the scholarship for 2005.

DG: What made you decide to apply for the scholarship?

TM: The scholarship’s wide repute guarantees scholars the opportunity to meet individuals from all over the world with wide-ranging interests and talents. I anticipate that interacting with such people will enrich me in different ways. The scholarship also affords one the opportunity to study at the oldest university in the English-speaking world. I’m told it’s a great experience.

DG: What did you do when you found out that you won the scholarship?

TM: I received a phone call from Mr. Morgan on the evening of December 13. The moment he said, “Tafadzwa, I have good news for you…,” I couldn’t contain myself with excitement. I don’t think I heard much more after that–I ran off to tell my mother.

DG: What do you hope to study?

TM: A Master of Science degree in pharmacology.

DG: How has Swarthmore helped prepare you for your time at Oxford?

TM: As a biology student, I have learnt about different life forms, including humans, micro-organisms, and plants. I have also learnt about interactions between them, which can either benefit both parties or be detrimental to one as in disease. Through studying pharmacology, I hope to learn about the development of drugs against disease causing organisms. In that sense, I like to think of my Swarthmore biology background as complementary to my future studies at Oxford.

DG: What will you miss most about Swarthmore? What will you miss least?

TM: In theory, the academic and other qualities of Swarthmore can be recreated or found elsewhere, whereas individuals cannot be replaced. In that regard, I will miss people the most, especially those I have come to know over the years. In practice, I’m sure I’ll miss a host of other things as well because there is no other place like Swarthmore. I’m not sure what I will miss least.

DG: After studying at Oxford, what do you see yourself doing next?

TM: After Oxford, I intend to study for a MD/PhD in the United States.

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