Joseph Barrett ’14, one of two Pyne Prize recipients from last June’s graduating class, has spent the past few months working to expand the Petey Greene Program, a prison-education nonprofit founded by alumni Jim Farrin ’58 and Charles Puttkammer ’58. Barrett had tutored inmates in GED studies and adult basic education during his time as an undergraduate. Now, as the regional field manager in Massachusetts, he builds partnerships between colleges and nearby correctional facilities. But Barrett’s work will take a detour next fall: Last week, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, joining two current undergraduates, Rachel Skokowski ’15 and Sarah Yerima ’15, in the class of 32 American recipients.
The news, Barrett said, was both exciting and shocking. “It was a really impressive group there as finalists — they could have chosen anyone,” he said.
In one sense, Barrett’s path to the Rhodes began at Oxford. He studied there as a junior, through the Oxford-Princeton Exchange in History, and used his free time to travel to the British Library in London, where he pored over documents to research his second junior paper for Princeton’s history department. Barrett said that he enjoyed the long hours in the archives and realized he wanted to continue his studies as a graduate student. As a Rhodes scholar, he will pursue a master’s degree in economic and social history. He also hopes to build a Petey Greene partnership at Oxford: Two prisons, he said, are located within a half-hour drive of the city.
While our Tiger of the Week designation is reserved for alumni, Barrett’s accomplished Rhodes colleagues deserve special mention as well.
Skokowski, who is majoring in French and Italian, will study modern languages at Oxford. A varsity runner on the track and cross-country teams, she has served as a tutor for peers at Princeton and middle-school students in nearby Trenton. She serves on the student advisory board of the Princeton University Art Museum and plans to pursue a career as a museum curator.
Yerima, a sociology major, will study politics at Oxford. She has been a residential college adviser at Rockefeller College, and an undergraduate fellow with Race and Citizenship in the Americas, an initiative between Princeton and the University of São Paulo.