Four Indian Americans are among 32 Rhodes Scholars chosen from the United States who will go to Oxford University in England in October 2024 to pursue graduate degrees with scholars from over 70 countries.
The four Indian American students among 32 selected from 862 candidates endorsed by 249 different colleges and universities in 16 US districts are Mrinalini S Wadhwa, Suhaas Bhat, Nayantara K Arora and Aishani Aatresh.
“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, announcing their names.
Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford—ranked the #1 university in the world in some global rankings—and may allow funding in some instances for four years, according to a press release.
Dr. Doyle 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.”
Wadhwa from New York City is a senior at Columbia University where she majors in History and Mathematics. She is co-editor-in-chief of multiple student journals, including the Columbia Journal of Asia, which she co-founded.
She has won fellowships to support research in archives around the world, including in India, France, and the United Kingdom, and is current chair of the Columbia History Association. Mrinalini also co-founded a program providing a three-year English curriculum for low-income Indian students in New Delhi.
At Oxford, Mrinalini will pursue an MPhil in Modern European History.
Suhaas Bhat from Marshfield, Wisconsin, is a senior at Harvard University majoring in Social Studies and Physics. He co-founded an organization at Harvard that provides peer-facilitated group psychotherapy to students.
He has developed machine learning models for designing novel drugs. He helped organize Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, resulting in the university divesting its endowment from the fossil fuel industry.
He has eight peer-reviewed publications and was selected as part of the Junior 24 cohort for Phi Beta Kappa. He has worked as a machine learning researcher at DE Shaw Research, American Family Insurance, UbiquiTx, and the Church and Chatterjee labs at Harvard and Duke, respectively.
At Oxford, he will pursue an MSc in Mathematical Modeling and Scientific Computing and an MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine.
Nayantara K. Arora from Portland, Oregon, 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. She is a Stamps Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa Public Service Scholar, and has traveled to Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, and the UK to pursue interests in global health.
Nayantara is currently an intern with the State Department, and produces a podcast dedicated to uplifting immigrant youth stories, plays the violin, and loves learning new languages.
At Oxford, Nayantara will pursue an MSc in Modelling for Global Health and MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine.
Aishani Aatresh from Saratoga, California, is a senior at Harvard College where she is majoring in complex biosocial systems. Aishani is also a fellow at the Program on Science, Technology & Society at the Kennedy School of Government, where she balances research in preventing infectious diseases with a commitment to global public health.
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.
She worked as a computational immuno-engineer with companies to develop monoclonal antibody therapies against human disease targets. Aishani tutors at the Harvard College Writing Center.
At Oxford, she plans to complete an MPhil degree in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance.
With the latest selections, 3,642 Americans have won Rhodes Scholarships, representing 327 colleges and universities. Since 1976, women have been eligible to apply, and 663 American women have now won the coveted scholarship.
The total value of the Scholarship averages approximately $75,000 per year, and up to as much as approximately $250,000 for Scholars who remain at Oxford for four years in certain departments.
The Scholarships were created in 1902 by the Will of Cecil Rhodes and are provided in partnership with the Second Century Founders, John McCall MacBain OC and The Atlantic Philanthropies.