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Academy cadet selected for postgraduate Rhodes Scholarship

Cadet 1st Class Madelyn LetendreU.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Madelyn Letendre was selected for a Rhodes Scholarship, a fully funded postgraduate program in the United Kingdom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Pacheco)

U.S. Air Force Academy Strategic Communications

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Madelyn Letendre, Class of 2024, was selected for a highly competitive Rhodes Scholarship, a fully funded postgraduate program in the United Kingdom.

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest international scholarship program enabling young people from around the world to study at the University of Oxford, according to the program’s website. The program dates to 1902, and its scholars are eligible to apply for most postgraduate programs offered at Oxford.

“The U.S. Air Force Academy has so much talent within the cadet wing and it’s gratifying when an organization like the Rhodes Trust selects one of our cadets for recognition,” said Col. Margaret Martin, Academy vice dean of the faculty. “Madelyn Letendre is a shining example of the hard work, service mindset and internal motivation that prepares our cadets to lead. We are so proud of her and pleased to have her represent the Academy and her fellow cadets.”

Letendre, a chemistry major with a philosophy minor, will commission into the U.S. Air Force as a second lieutenant in May. At Oxford, she will pursue a Master of Science in Therapeutic and Translational Neuroscience and Master of Public Policy.

At the Academy, Letendre’s undergraduate research focused on military family disability support systems. In this effort, she helped launch a military program at the Autism Society of America and helped write a book chapter on disability education at the University of Sydney. Her chemistry research helped solve a space biology challenge replacing sunlight with acetate to feed plants. This collaborative cadet research, scheduled to launch into orbit in 2024, has ramifications on how food will be grown and oxygen produced in support of long-term space exploration. Letendre is a long-distance swimmer and has been selected to serve as a squadron commander within the Cadet Wing for the spring semester.

The Monument, Colorado, native will enter Air Force pilot training following her time at Oxford. She is the 44th Rhodes Scholar from the Academy. The first was retired Lt. Gen. Bradley Hosmer, Class of 1959.

“I am so grateful to the Rhodes Trust for the opportunity to further my education at Oxford and in the Rhodes community. I cannot wait to pursue research in PTSD therapy and policy,” Letendre said. “I want to thank all of the professors and mentors at the Academy who guided and encouraged me over the last four years, my incredible friends, my swim team and my squadron. Most importantly, thank you, Mom, Dad, and (brother) Ethan. This is a testament to your love and support. I owe everything to you.”