Cali VanCleve ’26 Named a 2024 Key Into Public Service Scholar by Phi Beta Kappa

image of Rhodes College student Cali VanCleve standing outside on campus

Cali VanCleve, a Rhodes College sophomore majoring in international studies and Russian, is one of 20 students selected as a Key into Public Service Scholar by The Phi Beta Kappa Society, which is considered America’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society.

Chosen from more than 700 applicants attending Phi Beta Kappa chapter institutions across the nation, each 2024 scholar will receive a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship and will participate in an educational conference held in Washington, D.C., providing them with invaluable training, mentorship, and opportunities for reflection on pathways to active citizenship.

“Since 1776, the Society has firmly stood for the principle that education in the liberal arts and sciences is essential for our democracy,” said Phi Beta Kappa Secretary and CEO Frederick M. Lawrence. “As we recognize the Class of 2024 Key into Public Service Scholars for their academic excellence, civic dedication, and service to others, we know the impact of this program will extend far beyond monetary awards. They will receive guidance and support to navigate the complexities of governance with wisdom, integrity, and dedication to the greater good.”

An international adoptee, VanCleve came to Rhodes from the Nashville, TN, area, and her experience in civic engagement involves making positive changes for immigrant and refugee communities across Tennessee. Through the Bonner Scholars program, she works as a community organizer serving on the Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope’s (MICAH) Immigration and Inclusivity team.

On campus, VanCleve is active with Amnesty International, Rhodes Student Government, the Bonner Leadership Team, and Rhodes Ambassadors. She also is a recipient of The Centre for Asian and Pacific Islanders (CAPI) Policy Initiative Fellowship based in Minnesota.

VanCleve will spend the summer and fall of 2024 immersing in the Russian language in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, as a 2024 Boren Scholar. She says that after graduating from Rhodes she plans to devote her career to public service, creating a country where all can thrive–not just survive–regardless of their country of origin.