Yale Undergraduates Win Rhodes, Mitchell Scholarships

Two current Yale undergraduates and a recent alumna will be studying in Britain and Ireland next year as either Rhodes or Mitchell Scholars.

Jarrad M. Aguirre ’09 is among the 32 Americans selected as Rhodes Scholars for study at Oxford next year, and Matthew Baum ’09 and Rebekah Emanuel ’07 were among the 12 recipients of Mitchell Scholarships for postgraduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Rhodes Scholar

Among the most well known and coveted of awards for international study, Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 at the bequest of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. The award provides all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England to those students who best exemplify “academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness and leadership potential.”

Jarrad M. Aguirre. Hailing from Centennial, Colorado, Aguirre is a molecular, cellular and developmental biology major whose interest in medicine extends from the molecular to the global. He will pursue a master’s degree in medical anthropology at Oxford.

He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year and is the recipient of many scholarships, including one from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. He has pursued research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through an invitation-only Howard Hughes Medical Institute program, and was awarded a fellowship as a Galbraith Scholar to study inequalities of health care delivery. He has traveled to Peru to conduct research on indigenous medical practices there, and he was part of the 100-member delegation from Yale that traveled to China in 2007 at the invitation of President Hu Jintao.

At Yale, Aguirre is a freshman counselor at Davenport, an active member of the Walden Peer counseling program, captain of the Yale Club Hockey team, and the co-founder and president of YNepal, an advocacy group for underserved children and orphans in Nepal. He also founded MAS Familias, an organization that supports Latino students studying math and science at Yale.

Mitchell Scholars

The George J. Mitchell Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, is named in honor of the former U.S. senator who made a pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process. It is designed to introduce and connect generations of future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering intellectual achievement, leadership, and a commitment to public service and community. Twelve Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Matthew Baum. A molecular, cellular and developmental biology major, Baum will earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees when he graduates in the spring. He is particularly interested in understanding and treating bipolar disease and other mental illnesses, and will use his Mitchell Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in neuroscience at Trinity College, Dublin.

Since coming to Yale from Colorado College during his sophomore year, Baum has earned such a reputation as a “true-Blue” that he is known as “the dean of transfers” among his fellow transfer students, according to a Yale Daily News article.

A native of Colorado, who now lists Watertown, Massachusetts, as his hometown, Baum has conducted scientific research, both in the United States and abroad. As a researcher in a Belgian lab, working with Fragile X syndrome — a chromosomal abnormality leading to mental retardation — Baum made a discovery about how short-term memories transform into long-term memories.

He is captain of the Yale wrestling team and a member of the Rugby Club. He is also an artist who has been given a grant to create a bronze statue that will be installed at Yale after he graduates. He tutors Yale students and tries to inspire children from New Haven public schools with an interest in science. He has traveled with the Yale Reach Out program to do community service in Turkey and Belize. Last, Baum is a motive force behind FOCUS on New Haven, a program that guides rising Yale sophomores to opportunities for serving the local community.

Rebekah Emanuel. Among her many accomplishments as an undergraduate, Emanuel conducted healthcare research on AIDS in Uganda, published a book with her sister on that experience and helped create an internship program in the African nation for Yale students.

An ethics, politics and economics major, Emanuel was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her senior year. At graduation, she was honored with two of the highest awards Yale bestows for academic excellence, creativity and humanitarian achievement — the Haas Prize for Fundamental Humanity and the Sewell Cup Prize. Since graduating, Emmanuel has returned to Uganda to work with its parliament on combating gender-based crimes; she also spent a year in Israel as a Fox International Fellow studying how the context of death impacts the lives of survivors, on the individual and the political-social level. Later this year, with the support of a William E. Simon Fellowship for Noble Purpose, Emanuel will travel to New Delhi to study ways to improve care for the terminally ill.

Emanuel, who grew up in Evanstan, Illinois, is an artist who has received a number of grants, including a Sudler, to pursue her sculpting.

She will pursue a master’s in human rights law through a cross border program at Queen’s University Belfast and the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Related Links:

Rhodes Scholarship

Jarrad Aguirre

George J. Mitchell Scholarship

Matthew Baum

In Yale Daily News

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Simon Fellowship