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Three Ivy League Student-Athletes Earn 2011 Rhodes Scholarships

2011 Rhodes Scholars Official Announcement

Courtesy of the Office of the American Secretary

WASHINGTON -- Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, today announced the names of three Ivy League student-athletes among the 32 American men and women chosen as Rhodes Scholars representing the United States.

Dartmouth's Gabrielle Emanuel, Harvard's Baltazar Zavala and Yale's William Zeng were listed among the class that will enter Oxford in October 2011. The Ivy League now boasts 118 (97 men, 21 women) student-athletes who have received Rhodes Scholarships.

Gabrielle A. Emanuel (Evanston, Ill.) graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth in June with a major in history and a minor in psychology. She is currently in Mali where she is designing a program on water access and purification. 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. Her photographs have been published in national publications and shown in exhibitions. Gabrielle was also a rider on Dartmouth’s varsity equestrian team. She plans to do a D.Phil. in development studies at Oxford.

Baltazar A. Zavala (El Paso, Texas) is a senior at Harvard with concentrations in engineering sciences and neurobiology. A varsity football player, he has been on three trips to the Dominican Republic with Engineers Without Borders to develop clean water systems. He has worked as a research assistant in neuroscience labs at Harvard and in Shanghai. Baltazar was born in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and emigrated to El Paso with his mother when he wasyoung. At Oxford, Baltazar will do the M.Sc. in neuroscience.

William J. Zeng (Great Falls, Va.) is a senior at Yale where he majors in physics. His coursework ranges from quantum physics and mathematics to comparative literature, philosophy and Hindi. Will has done research at MIT and at the Quantum Device Lab in Zurich, and was an intern in New Delhi with the Indian Youth Climate Network. He has competed internationally on Yale’s lightweight crew, and has volunteered with the Special Olympics. Will plans to do the M.Sc. in mathematics and the foundations of computer science at Oxford.

Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England, and may allow funding in some instances for four years. Mr. Gerson called the Rhodes Scholarships, "the oldest and best known award for international study, and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates." They were created in 1902 by the Will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process. First, candidates must be endorsed by their college or university. Over 1500 students each year seek their institution’s endorsement; this year, 837 were endorsed by 309 different colleges and universities.

Committees of Selection in each of 16 U.S. districts then invite the strongest applicants to appear before them for interview. 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. These basic characteristics are directed at fulfilling Mr. Rhodes’s hopes that the Rhodes Scholars would make an effective and positive contribution throughout the world. In Rhodes’ words, his Scholars should 'esteem the performance of public duties astheir highest aim.'"

Applicants in the United States may apply either through the state where they are legally resident or where they have attended college for at least two years. The district committees met separately, on Friday and Saturday, November 19 and 20, in cities across the country. Each district committee made a final selection of two Rhodes Scholars from the candidates of the state or states within the district. Two-hundred nine applicants from 88 different colleges and universities reached the final stage of the competition, including eight that had never before had a student win a Rhodes Scholarship. Gerson also reported, "in most years, we elect a winner from a college that had never before had a Rhodes Scholar, even aftermore than a century. This year we are pleased to announce first-time winners from Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and from the University of California, Irvine."

The thirty-two Rhodes Scholars chosen from the United States will join an international group of Scholars chosen from fourteen other jurisdictions around the world. In addition to the thirty-two Americans, Scholars are also selected from Australia, Bermuda, Canada, the nations of the Commonwealth Caribbean, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Southern Africa (South Africa, plus Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland), Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Approximately 80 Scholars are selected worldwide each year, including several non-U.S. Scholars who have attended American colleges and universities.

With the elections announced today, 3,228 Americans have won Rhodes Scholarships, representing 312 colleges and universities. Since 1976, women have been eligible to apply and 441 American women have now won the coveted scholarship. And for the third time since 1976, more women (17) than men (15) were elected. Men constituted 54% of the applicant pool. More than 1,800 American Rhodes Scholars are living in all parts of the U.S. and abroad. For the first time ever, South Dakota had two Rhodes Scholars elected in the same year.

The value of the Rhodes Scholarship varies depending on the academic field and the degree (B.A., master’s, doctoral) chosen. The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations, and transportation to and from England. Mr. Gerson estimates that the total value of the Scholarship averages approximately US$50,000 per year.