By Marta Lawrence
Aakash Shah, a former track student-athlete at Ursinus, and Megan Braun, goalie of the UC Irvine water polo team, are the first Rhodes Scholars from their institutions.
Thirty-two Rhodes scholars were announced Saturday, including a number of student-athletes.
The Rhodes Scholarship, founded in 1904, is the oldest international fellowships program. Winners are given the opportunity to do graduate work at the University of Oxford in Britain.
According to a news release from the Rhodes Trust, other student-athletes selected as Rhodes Scholars included Caroline Barlow of Navy, Tamma Carleton of Lewis and Clark, Gabrielle Emanuel of Dartmouth, Andrew Lanham of Haverford, Laura Nelson of Virginia, Baltazar Zavala of Harvard and William Zeng of Yale.
Harvard had four students represented, including Shah, who is currently attending Harvard’s medical school after graduating from Ursinus with bachelor’s degrees in biology, neuroscience and inequality studies, and minors in chemistry and sociology. Chicago and Stanford had three students recognized, and Princeton and Yale each had two.
In announcing the winners, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust Elliot Gerson said, “Applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in the Will of Cecil Rhodes. These criteria are high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor.”
While at Ursinus, Shah was a Goldwater Scholar, Zacharias Scholar, Bonner Scholar and junior member of Phi Beta Kappa. Building on his experience examining environmental health problems in Indian slums, he plans a career combining clinical and academic medicine with global health policy.
Braun graduated from UC Irvine in October with a bachelor’s in history and a minor in philosophy. While at UC Irvine, she was student-body president and a junior member of Phi Beta Kappa. Braun is currently at Cambridge University, where she is studying the ethical constructs of war and peacemaking.
Navy’s Caroline Barlow is a member of the cross country team and 2009 national championship triathlon team. The brigade commander senior and oceanography major has worked in the Pentagon for the Navy Energy Coordination Office and has presented at the Mountain Meteorology Conference in Santiago, Chile. She has also worked at the Naval Research Laboratory to improve the accuracy of tropical cyclone forecasting.
A former member of the Lewis and Clark cross country team, Tamma Carleton has been working at the Federal Trade Commission since her graduation in 2009. She is a founding member of the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace and is interested in linking sustainable local agriculture to improved nutrition in low-income neighborhoods.
After graduating summa cum laude from Dartmouth with a degree in history and a minor in psychology, Gabrielle Emanuel began work in Mali, where she is designing a program on water access and purification. Emanuel was a rider on the varsity equestrian team and is an avid photographer. While at Dartmouth, she worked with homeless women in Boston, on hunger in New Hampshire, on microfinance in India and helping Ugandans gain access to higher education.
Captain of the Haverford cross country team, Andrew Lanham graduated summa cum laude from the university in May with degrees in English and philosophy. He was head of the university’s honor council and is currently a resident tutor for a nonprofit education organization serving underprivileged minorities.
Laura Nelson is a senior at Virginia, where she plays field hockey and majors in political and social thought. At Oxford, Nelson plans to do the M.St. in English language and Literature.
Harvard senior Baltazar Zavala is a varsity football player with academic concentrations in engineering sciences and neurobiology. He has worked internationally as a volunteer with Engineers Without Borders to develop clean water systems in the Dominican Republic.
William Zeng has competed internationally as a member of Yale’s lightweight crew team and has volunteered with Special Olympics. A senior physics major, Zeng has done research at MIT and at the Quantum Device Lab in Zurich. He was an intern in New Delhi with the Indian Youth Climate Network.