Two Yale Students Win Rhodes Scholarships for 2002

Shayna Strom and Sunita Puri, both seniors at Yale College, have been awarded 2002 Rhodes Scholarships for study at Oxford University.

Strom, of Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, had the unusual double honor of winning a Marshall Scholarship last week. Majoring in Ethics, Politics and Economics, she has a strong interest in urban issues and was a founder of Yale’s Ad-hoc Poverty Policy Organization, a program to educate Yale students about issues of urban poverty. In her executive position at Yale’s Dwight Hall Center for Public Service and Social Justice, she was in charge of and helped to overhaul the nation’s largest student-run umbrella organization for volunteer activities. An accomplished flutist, she also sings with the Yale College Opera Company. Strom will pursue a doctorate in human geography at Oxford.

Puri, from Los Angeles, is majoring in cultural anthropology. She founded a South Asian literary magazine and a South Asian women’s group and has served as a counselor and victim advocate for battered women in the United States and in England. She has won a national prize in medical anthropology, and has been active in a number of mentoring and counseling programs in New Haven. She is a classical pianist, who gives lessons in the piano, a performer and instructor of Indian classical music and the author of several short stories and works of poetry. She intends to do a doctorate in social and cultural anthropology at Oxford.

“We are thrilled with the news about Shayna and Sunita winning the Rhodes,” said Mark Bauer, who is the assistant director for UK Fellowship Programs in the Office of International Education and Fellowship Programs at Yale. “Each is a scholar of tremendous ability who has also distinguished herself in public service and community affairs,” he said.

Strom and Puri are among 32 American students who were chosen from 925 applicants, representing 319 colleges and universities.

Rhodes Scholarships provide two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. The oldest of the international study awards available to American students, the Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by British philanthropist and colonial pioneer Cecil Rhodes. Applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in Rhodes’s will: “high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor.”

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