Five Students Nominated for Rhodes, Marshall Scholarships

Honors and Undergraduate Research announces that five outstanding students have been nominated by Texas A&M University for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, the two most prestigious and highly-coveted academic scholarships available to United States students.

Kristen Carter, Oliver Thoma, Bianca Manago, Raechel Schneider, Michelle Arishita
Kristen Carter, Oliver Thoma, Bianca Manago, Raechel Schneider, Michelle Arishita

Rhodes Scholarships are tenable for two to three years of graduate study at Oxford University; the Marshall Scholarship is tenable for two years of study at any university in the United Kingdom. Students must be graduating seniors or recent graduates and be nominated by the university. Hundreds of students from across the United States apply each year; of the approximately 1,000 students who applied in 2009, only 32 applicants are selected for the Rhodes, whereas only 40 of the approximately 1,100 who applied for the Marshall were selected as scholars.

The nominees will hear of their selection as finalists in the next one to two weeks. Finalists will then participate in regional or district interviews in November. The announcement of scholars will be announced by the foundations shortly thereafter.

Michelle Arishita ‘10 is an August, 2010, graduate in Psychology, with minors in English and Philosophy. Ms. Arishita was an Honors Undergraduate Research Fellow, completing a thesis on racism in international sport under Dr. Arnold LeUnes. She has served as a CARPOOL volunteer and as a site leader for Alternative Spring Break. She also competes in marathons and triathlons. She intends to attend law school and specialize in sports law and management, with an emphasis on international organizations. If selected for the Marshall Scholarship, Ms. Arishita will earn master’s degrees from Brunel University in Sport Sciences and from Leeds Metropolitan University in Sport, Law and Society.

Kristen Carter is a Biochemistry and Genetics double-major, with minors in Music and Chemistry. She is the president of the Texas A&M Biochemistry and Genetics Society, has played with the Texas A&M Wind Symphony, and has served as a Sophomore Advisor in the Honors Housing Community. As an Honors Undergraduate Research Fellow, she is conducting research on the Mouse Hepatitis Virus under Dr. Jan Leibowitz. In the future, she intends to pursue an MD/PhD and hopes to develop improved treatments for emerging diseases and vaccines for viruses. If selected as a Rhodes or Marshall Scholar, she will pursue a DPhil in Clinical medicine at the University of Oxford, conducting research on malaria vaccines.

Bianca Manago is a double-major in Sociology and Philosophy. She is the co-founder of One Love, a student organization that promotes sustainable living and social justice, and she is the Director of Curriculum for ONE Aggieland, a network and professional development organization for campus social justice organizations. She has served as a teaching assistant in the Sociology department for three years and has been conducting research on social cooperation under Dr. Jane Sell. In addition, she has completed internships with the Texas Transportation Institute and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She plans to become a professor of sociology. If selected as a Rhodes or Marshall Scholar, she will pursue an MPhil in Evidence Based Social Intervention at Oxford University.

Raechel Schneider will receive a double-degree in Environmental Design and Psychology. She is presently the chair of GUIDE, a freshman mentoring organization, and the founder of Project Art, which recruited student artists to paint murals to beautify the MSC construction area. She is also the principal French Horn in the Texas A&M Wind Symphony, and performs regularly with The Theatre Company in Bryan, Texas. As an Honors Undergraduate Research Fellow, she conducts research on the relationship between school design and student behavior under Dr. Xuemei Zhu. In the future, she plans to create her own architectural design firm. If selected as a Marshall Scholar, she will pursue master’s degrees at the University of Surrey, in Environmental Psychology, and at Newcastle University, in Arts, Business and Creativity.

Oliver Thoma is a Political Science major. He is President of the Texas A&M Century Singers and the Advocate for Student Services in the Student Government Association. In 2009, he participated as a Student Ambassador in the 4th biennial China-US Relations Conference in Beijing. Mr. Thoma has interned in the UK Parliament, and he is presently a Presidential Fellow with the Center for the Study of the Presidency. As an Honors Undergraduate Research Fellow, he is composing a thesis on the US Constitution and the powers of the Executive Branch under Dr. James Rogers. In the future, he intends to pursue a career in international commerce and economic development. If selected as a Rhodes or Marshall Scholar, he will pursue master’s degrees in Modern Chinese Studies and Global Governance and Diplomacy at the University of Oxford.

Texas A&M University has produced six Rhodes Scholars and four Marshall Scholars, the most recent being Rhodes Scholar Nick Anthis ‘05 in 2005 and Marshall Scholar Faye Hays ‘07 in 2007. A Texas A&M University nominee has progressed to the finalist interviews in the Rhodes or Marshall Scholarships every year for the past six years. In the 2010 competition cycle, three Aggies progressed to the finalist interviews: Ella Doerge ’10 for the Rhodes and Paige Ibanez ’10 and Karthik Venkatraj ’10 for the Marshall. Other recent successes include Marshall Scholarship finalist Matthew Hickey ’09, and Rhodes Scholarship finalist Andrew Matteson ’08.

The Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest international fellowships, were initiated after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902, and bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford. The primary qualification for a successful candidate is intellectual distinction, although the selection committees also seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. Through the years, Rhodes Scholars have pursued studies in all of the varied fields available at the University of Oxford, where they are elected for two years of study, with the possibility of renewal for a third year. Notable Rhodes Scholars include former US President Bill Clinton, NBA Hall-of-Fame inductee and Senator Bill Bradley, and Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee Kris Kristofferson.

The Marshall Scholarships began in 1953 as a gesture of thanks from the British Government for the US assistance in rebuilding Europe after World War II. Former Marshall Scholars include Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and New York Times Foreign Affairs columnist Thomas Friedman. According to the Marshall Scholarship Foundation, as future leaders, Marshall Scholars are “expected to strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions. Marshall Scholars are talented, independent and wide-ranging, and their time as Scholars enhances their intellectual and personal growth. Their direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programmes contributes to their ultimate personal success.”

Because of the fierce competition for these scholarships, the preliminary process to be selected as an official University nominee is quite rigorous. Currently enrolled students and recent graduates should apply for selection in April, with the official deadline for the scholarships being in early October. To be awarded the University’s nomination, a student must show strong scholarly potential, demonstrated through their academic record and letters of recommendation from faculty, leadership ability, demonstrated through their involvement in student and civic organizations, and excellent speaking and analytical skills, as demonstrated in a series of interviews.

Once approved, prospective nominees can expect to spend months developing their applications as they work closely under the advice and guidance of faculty and academic advisors. The official announcement of university endorsement is made only after the nominees submit their finalized application to the scholarship foundations.

For more information, please contact Mr. Kyle Mox, National Scholarships Coordinator in the Honors and Undergraduate Research office –  (979) 845-1957 or kemox@tamu.edu.

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