CANTON — A 21-year-old Northeast Ohio native who wants to become a physician and work in the area of health policy is one of 32 American students named Sunday as Rhodes Scholars for 2013.
Micah Johnson, of Canton, was selected Saturday for the award that pays all expenses for up to four years of study at Oxford University in England. A 2009 graduate and valedictorian of Jackson High School near Canton, Johnson is a senior at Yale University in Connecticut. He is majoring in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and psychology with a neuroscience concentration.
Johnson, whose academic focus has been on brain disorders, has done research on Parkinson’s disease. He worked in Ghana to design and develop a plan to improve mental health care and founded a Yale program assisting public health in Latin America.
“I’m passionate about global health issues,” said Johnson in a telephone interview Sunday from New Haven, Conn.
Johnson, who said he plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy at Oxford, said he was “thrilled” with his selection but still “finds it hard to believe.”
Rhodes Scholars are chosen on the basis of attributes that include high academic achievement, personal integrity and leadership potential.
“I think the most exciting thing is being part of the Rhodes community, which is such an incredibly talented and motivated group,” he said. “Being part of that is really inspiring.”
Johnson plans to return to the United States after finishing at Oxford and attend medical school. He said he hopes to apply what he learns at Oxford with his medical training to help him work in the area of health policy in this country and abroad.
As for now, he is planning to head back to Canton for the Thanksgiving holiday and celebrate the holiday and his scholarship with his family.
The Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes and have a value of about $50,000 per year.
The American students will join an international group of scholars selected from 14 other jurisdictions around the world. About 80 scholars are selected each year.