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Posted at 01:02 PM ET, 11/23/2011

The 2012 Rhodes Scholars and their fascinating lives


This was a rather interesting year for Rhodes scholarship news.

First, there was a bit of a scandal involving Yale’s football coach, Tom Williams, who claimed he was a Rhodes candidate in the early ’90s. This fall, he advised one of his players to skip a Rhodes interview to play in the game against Harvard. The Rhodes Trust told the New York Times that it has no evidence Williams ever applied.


Ronan Farrow, special adviser to the secretary of state for global youth issues, speaks during the Social Good Summit in New York. (Gary He - United Nations Foundation via Associated Press)
Then, this week many D.C.-ists announced an intellectual crush on a local winner, Ronan S. Farrow, who graduated from Bard College at 15 and Yale Law School at 21. Now 23, Farrow is working for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on global youth issues and prolifically tweeting. (And, according to the Reliable Source, he’s a nice guy who doesn’t talk up his famous parents, Mia Farrow and Woody Allen.)

Some trivia about this year’s group: There are more women than men, and fewer than half graduated from Ivy League schools. Stanford (not in the Ivy League) had a record-high of five scholars, and the University of Washington had two. Harvard, which has been called a “Rhodes Scholars factory,” had four, the same number as Brown and Princeton.

I always find it immensely interesting and humbling to read through the biographies of the 32 winners. Additionally, here is one interesting fact about each scholar:

Samuel M. Galler, Harvard College: Galler was asked to sing during his Rhodes interview, as he’s a former member of the a cappella group Din & Tonics. He performed the Chinese national anthem. (The Harvard Crimson)

Stephanie Bryson, California State University at Long Beach: Bryson was a lifeguard for seven years and loves surfing, swimming and other water sports. She’s now a graduate student at Georgetown University. (Georgetown Patch)

Byron D. Gray, University of Washington: Thirty minutes before his Rhodes interview, Gray couldn’t keep it a secret any longer and posted the news on Facebook. (The Daily)

Cameron W. Turtle, University of Washington: Turtle wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. to work out and tries to go to bed by 10 or 11 p.m. (The Daily)

Stephanie Lin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: In addition to researching Karposi’s sarcoma virus and the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, Lin is the vice president for education in her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. (The Tech)

Mohit Agrawal, Princeton University: Agrawal won the Mitchell Scholarship last year and has been studying economic policy at the National University of Ireland, where he marvels that the country has fewer residents than his home state of Indiana. (Daily Princetonian)

Elizabeth W. Butterworth, Princeton University: Butterworth took a year off college in 2009 to found a music program in Worchester, Mass., that gave free lessons and instruments to children from low-income areas. (Daily Princetonian)

Miriam Rosenbaum, Princeton University: Rosenbaum grew up in an orthodox Jewish community in the Bronx, an experience that inspired her to advocate for marginalized populations. (Daily Princetonian)

Emma F. LeBlanc, Brown University: Halfway through sophomore year, LeBlanc took a year-long leave from school to work on a photo essay in Syria. (Brown Daily Herald)

Joshua D. Carpenter, University of Alabama at Birmingham: Carpenter is in his second year of Teach for America in his home state of Alabama. (Times Daily)

Astrid E.M.L. Stuth, Princeton University: When Stuth was 16, she moved from Wisconsin to the United World College in Hong Kong, where she learned Chinese and joined the dance team. (Daily Princetonian)

Sarah N. Smierciak, Northwestern University: Smierciak is working as a teacher, organizer and consultant at a school in Cairo. (The Daily Northwestern)

Helen E. Jack, Yale University: Jack has been studying the tangled connections between mental illness and substance addiction, an interest that grew out of volunteer work she did soon after starting college. (Boston Globe)

David S. Poritz, Brown University: Poritz traveled to Ecuador when he was 15, was appalled by oil refineries in the rain forest and became interested in environmental activism. (Boston Globe)

Brett A. Rosenberg, Harvard College: Rosenberg focused her thesis on the Cold War “for the silly reason that spies are fun.” (The Harvard Crimson)

Nina R.W. Cohen, Bryn Mawr College: Cohen is a classical musician who has played with the school’s orchestra. (Official Rhodes Scholars bios)

Cory J. Rodgers, University of Pittsburgh: Rodgers is a first-generation college student who has been working in Tanzania on an urban agricultural project for people with HIV/AIDS living in low-income areas. (University news release)

Brandon E. Turner, Wake Forest University: Since his freshman year, Turner has been helping a computational biophysics professor with her research. (Wake Forest news release)

Ishan Nath, Stanford University: Nath has been a political columnist for the Stanford Daily and this year interned in the White House Office of the Vice President, Economic Policy Office. (Stanford news release)

Nabeel N. Gillani, Brown University: The scholarship application process helped Gillani decide to pursue master’s degrees in education and computer science. (The Brown Daily Herald)

Carrie H. Ryan, Sewanee: The University of the South: While an undergraduate, Ryan was the student body president and a student trustee. (Sewanee news release)

Aysha N. Bagchi, Stanford University: At graduation in 2011, Bagchi received the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education. (Stanford news release)

Anand R. Habib, Stanford University: Habib is doing a one-year global health fellowship at St. Joseph’s Clinic in Thomassique, Haiti. (Stanford news release)

Victor Yang, Harvard College: Yang became interested in public health issues while volunteering in Boston and wrote his thesis on “non-traditional views of AIDS activism, particularly among minority groups.”(The Harvard Crimson)

Spencer B. L. Lenfield, Harvard College: Lenfield is excited to study in Britain, as his research focuses on 20th-century British history and the Victorians. (The Harvard Crimson)

Alexis K. Brown, University of Wisconsin at Madison: Brown founded the Madison Journal of Literary Criticism and serves as editor. (The Badger Herald)

Kelsey R. Murrell, University of Kansas: Murrell founded the Contemporary Alternative Student Theatre and is doing her honors thesis on refu­gee stories. (University Daily Kansan)

Katherine Niehaus, Stanford University: Niehaus was captain of the varsity track and cross-country teams and won the Pac-10 5,000 meters. (Stanford news release)

Zachary A. Crippen, U.S. Air Force Academy: Crippen hopes to one day be an Air Force judge advocate and was the academy’s mock trial team captain and a founding member of a moot court. (USAFA news release)

Brianna R. Doherty, Brown University: Doherty, of California, was with several other finalists from her region as the news was announced. She “flipped out” when she heard she had won. (The Brown Daily Herald)

Tenzin Seldon, Stanford University: Seldon is “an emerging leader in the Tibetan diaspora, having served as regional coordinator for Students for a Free Tibet and executive member of San Francisco Team Tibet.” (Stanford news release)

Ronan S. Farrow, Yale Law School and Bard College: See above. Or his Wikipedia page.

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By  |  01:02 PM ET, 11/23/2011

 
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