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Four Indian-American students join prestigious Rhodes scholar ranks

Four Indian-American students have been selected from a pool of 840 applicants from 70 countries to join the ranks of Rhodes Scholars Class of 2024 at the University of Oxford.

Mrinalini S Wadhwa, Suhaas Bhat, Nayantara K Arora and Aishani Aatresh are among 32 scholars who were selected via in-person interviews for the first time since Covid pandemic, and will begin their graduate studies in October 2024.

Wadhwa of New York City, is a senior at Columbia University where she majors in History and Mathematics.

She co-founded a programme providing a three-year English curriculum for low-income Indian students in New Delhi. At Oxford, she will pursue an M Phil in Modern European History.

Bhat from Wisconsin is a senior at Harvard University majoring in Social Studies and Physics. He co-founded an organisation at Harvard that provides peer-facilitated group psychotherapy to students.

He will pursue an M Sc in Mathematical Modeling and Scientific Computing and an M Sc in International Health and Tropical Medicine.

Arora from Portland is a senior at the University of Oregon, Clark Honors College, where she majors in Neuroscience, with minors in Global Health and Chemistry.

She conducts research in two areas: global health biomarkers in Tunisia and the relationship between the vasculature and Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently an intern with the State Department, Arora produces a podcast dedicated to uplifting immigrant youth stories, plays the violin, and loves learning new languages.

She will pursue an M Sc in Modelling for Global Health and M Sc in International Health and Tropical Medicine at Oxford.

Aatresh from California is a senior at Harvard College where she is majoring in complex biosocial systems.

During the global pandemic, she worked with the New York City health and hospital system emergency response and then undertook studies to understand the dynamics of Covid-19 with the global Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

At Oxford, she plans to complete an M Phil degree in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance.

"They inspire us already with their accomplishments, but even more by their values-based leadership and selfless ambitions to improve their communities and the world,” said Ramona L Doyle, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust.

According to Forbes, this year’s class of 32 students was dominated by Harvard University, which saw nine of its graduates selected for the award.

With the latest selections, 3,642 Americans have won Rhodes Scholarships, representing 327 colleges and universities.

The Rhodes Scholarship is a fully funded, full time graduate fellowship awarded by the University of Oxford since 1903.

The selected scholars can come to the UK for two or more years and can apply to study most full-time postgraduate courses offered by Oxford University.

The total value of the scholarship averages about $75,000 per year and can reach up to as much as $250,000 for scholars who remain at the university for four years in certain departments.

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