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Eden Prairie student is named a Rhodes Scholar, will focus on drug policy

Riley Tillitt is currently studying at Yale University.

An Eden Prairie graduate currently studying at Yale University has been named as one of the recipients of this year's prestigious Rhodes Scholarships.

Riley Tillitt, a 22-year-old Class of 2015 graduate from Eden Prairie schools, is one of only 32 American students to be named a Rhodes Scholar this year.

Starting next fall, he will join his fellow Rhodes Scholars to embark upon a two- or- three-year course of study at the University of Oxford, in England.

Riley is currently studying at Yale University, where he's majoring in history and is also studying ethics, politics and economics.

In Oxford, he will study a topic particularly close to his heart: criminal drug policy.

His brother, Max, died from a heroin overdose when Riley was a college freshman. Speaking to WCCO, Riley said that drug addiction is treated as a criminal issue rather than a public health issue, and that's causing more people to overdose.

He wants to conduct research that can help inform criminal justice and drug policies, and already serves as a member of the board of directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy in Washington D.C., and is the president of the Yale Chapter.

He's also the president of the Yale Model Congress and Director-General of Yale Model United Nations China.

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At Oxford, he'll study for his Master of Public Policy degree, and a Master of Science degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

He was selected from a group of 880 applicants endorsed by 281 U.S. colleges and universities.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen not just for their outstanding academic achievements, but also for "their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead."

Max Tillitt's death was the subject of a court case last year, which saw prolific drug dealer Beverley Burrell convicted of 3rd degree murder in his and another young man's fatal overdoses.

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