Political science student from Indianapolis overcomes adversity, selected as Rhodes Scholar

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Photo of Jay Ruckelshaus from his foundation The Ramp Less Traveled

INDIANAPOLIS (November 22, 2015) — A Duke University senior from Indianapolis who combines advocacy, politics, and philosophy to help marginalized people has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar for 2016.

According to Duke Today, Jay Ruckelshaus plans to pursue a master’s of philosophy degree in political theory at Oxford University in England.

He’s currently a political science major with a triple minor in philosophy, history and English. He has interned in the office of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, researching policy focusing on mental health and the criminal justice system.

In 2011, just six weeks after Ruckelshaus graduated as Cathedral High School’s valedictorian, he was in a diving accident in Geist Reservoir, and he was paralyzed. He spent around six months at a rehab facility in Atlanta before starting his college career at Duke.

Ruckelshaus started a foundation called The Ramp Less Traveled. It is a nonprofit organization that helps students with spinal cord injuries get to college through financial support and mentorship.

Ruckelshaus is a member of the U.S. International Council on Disability, and he is the chair and director of operations for the Accessibility Matters Campaign at Duke.