Madison Jennings ’24, a leader at Agnes Scott through her focus on academic excellence and her commitment to addressing the social challenges of today, is one of only 32 students in the country to be awarded a 2024 Rhodes Scholarship.
Madison Jennings ’24 has been named a Rhodes Scholar and will begin fully funded postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom next fall. At Oxford, Madison will pursue a Master of Public Policy and an MSc in Public Policy Research.
From Savannah, Georgia, Madison is majoring in political science and minoring in religious studies with a Global Learning Specialization at Agnes Scott College. She is president of the Agnes Scott pre-law society and an intern at The Carter Center, where she has worked on issues ranging from supporting women’s education and activism in Liberia to identifying support for policing alternatives in Georgia. As a Duke PreLaw Fellow, she developed a passion for international law and policy. Jennings is also classically trained in ballet and has led three ballet productions. Her scholarly work at Agnes Scott includes research on international law in Afghanistan and Georgia’s maternal health policy. She has also researched workplace sexual harassment laws and public safety legislation during the 2023 Georgia legislative session; her applied experiences include working with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce on policy development; humanitarian policy analysis at CARE USA; and civil society organizing in Liberia with The Carter Center. Madison is the founder and project executive for PopUp Library for Peace, a literacy project she conceived and secured funding for in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on childhood literacy in her community. In all this work, Madison begins with a commitment to understand and advocate for disenfranchised communities. With that commitment, she builds deep knowledge of policy and strategy, remaining grounded in advocacy that motivates her.
“We are extremely proud of Madison and the outstanding work she has done in the classroom and in the community. At Agnes Scott, we focus on educating our students to be global citizens and inclusive leaders. Madison is a true example of both. We know that she will continue to lead and to make a difference today and tomorrow,” said Leocadia I. Zak, president of Agnes Scott.
“Madison has dedicated her life to being a voice for her heritage and empowering those historically underrepresented, and that is evident in both her academic work as well as her personal life,” said Dr. Mary Cain, associate professor of history. “Her vision for inspiring others and fostering teamwork is steeped in grassroots organizing, reflecting cultural resilience and a commitment to community empowerment, and these are the attributes that make her a 2024 Rhodes Scholar.”
In preparing for this opportunity, Madison writes about how “The Gullah tradition, rooted in the fusion of grassroots organizing and policy change, continues to influence my academic and professional pursuits. The community-based model I’ve embraced transcends cultural boundaries, and as a policy director, I intend to leverage these community-based models to demonstrate how local dynamics inform global policies.” Madison notes that she has “learned that leadership is not solely about identifying challenges and crafting solutions—it is also about inspiring others and fostering teamwork.”
Looking toward future work as a policy director, Madison’s goal is to craft a comprehensive and empathetic humanitarian policy that is intersectional in its values and global in its influence. Madison’s work in collaborative partnerships with community organizations has shaped her commitment to addressing systemic inequalities and to using strategies that are culturally sensitive and responsive to the needs of specific places and people.