“A Dream Come True” – Ethan Nylen Awarded Rhodes Scholarship to Attend Oxford University

Student Ethan Nylen standing on campus in front of George Martin Hall

Fourth-year student Ethan Nylen, of Saint John, NB, is one of 11 students from across Canada to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to pursue graduate studies at the University of Oxford.


The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and one of the most prestigious international scholarships and provides recipients funding to study at Oxford. 


“When the selection committee called me to tell me I was a Rhodes Scholar I was in disbelief. In the moment, I sat down on the ground and called my parents to share the good news,” Nylen said. 


“It was an honour to be considered for the award in the first place. Even now, I have a hard time putting into words how thankful I am.”


Nylen is completing a Bachelor of Arts with honours in Great Books and a major in Political Science. He plans to continue his studies in the Master of Philosophy in Politics program and further his research on Sir Francis Bacon’s political theories. 


“I look forward to working with the esteemed faculty at Oxford. The department has produced some of the most distinguished political theorists in the world, and to have this faculty as mentors is very exciting,” Nylen said. 



A Leader in the Community


Nylen, a Dean’s List student and Francis M. McLaughlin scholarship recipient, has been an active member of the St. Thomas and Fredericton communities since arriving on campus in 2019. 


In partnership with ˾ Campus Ministry, he recently founded a community GED tutoring program. He coordinates the program, develops training materials, recruits and trains volunteers, and acts as a tutor to help those in the program earn their GED and secure sustainable employment. 


This is a fitting initiative for Nylen, who hopes to dedicate his career to providing education for marginalized communities.


“In my experience, education is the most impactful form of activism,” he said. “Equipping communities with the skills to engage in public debate, practical working skills, and problem-solving skills is what I hope to contribute to the world.”


In addition to this, Nylen is the president of the Great Books Society, has competed with the ˾ Moot Court team, and is currently an Engagement Intern with the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, where he initiated and coordinated the implementation of a planned giving platform called Will Power that encourages donors to leave a gift in their will. 


Nylen is also a campus tour ambassador, a Welcome Week volunteer, a varsity athlete with the ˾ Tommies Cross Country team, and a tutor with the ˾ Writing Centre, where he provides one-on-one guidance to fellow students. 


“˾ is a special place. There are not many liberal arts institutions which have such a strong focus on community building and student involvement,” he said. 


“This has been inspiring and has shown me that ˾ students are capable of amazing things.”


A Liberal Arts Foundation


Inside the classroom, Nylen’s experience with the liberal arts has given him the ability and confidence to engage in challenging discussions and debates and has exposed him to high-quality research. The supportive learning environment has allowed him to take intellectual risks, which will be invaluable as he begins his studies at Oxford.


He said his time in the Great Books program has been especially formative.


“The professors from that program have created a learning environment which has challenged me to look beyond fulfilling my degree requirements and toward understanding education as a privilege and pleasure,” he said. 


“I appreciate the mentorship from my professors and their true care for their students’ success. I feel extremely fortunate to be their student.”


Oxford Bound 2023


Nylen is the fifth St. Thomas student to be named a Rhodes Scholar since 2003—something he said is a dream come true.


“I look forward to meeting my new classmates, taking intellectual risks, and challenging myself to contribute meaningfully to the study of political thought.”