11 Yalies win prestigious scholarships for study 'across the pond'

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This year, 11 Yale students — six seniors and five alumni — were named as Rhodes or Marshall Scholars, two of the most coveted academic awards for study in Great Britain.

Three Yale seniors and one alumnus were awarded 4 out of 32 U.S.Rhodes Scholarships awarded in 2014, the most of any other college or university. The students were chosen out of a pool of 877 students nominated by 305 colleges and universities nationwide. Another alumnus was one of 11 students awarded the Canadian Rhodes Scholarships.

Six Yalies — three seniors and three alumni — were recognized with Marshall Scholarships. This is the highest number of Marshall Scholarships awarded to Yale students in a single year in over 30 years.

Rhodes Scholarships

Among the most prestigious 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.”

Matthew J. Townsend ’15 is majoring in molecular, cellular and developmental biology. Elected as a junior to Phi Beta Kappa, he has a perfect academic record across the sciences, economics, and Latin. He is also a two-year starter on the Yale Varsity Basketball Team, where he won the award as the top defensive player. Townsend is co-coordinator of the Hunger and Homelessness Action Project’s Bringing Relief Every Day project. At Oxford, Townsend plans to pursue an M.Sc. in medical anthropology

Gabriel M. Zucker

’12 who graduated summa cum laude, majored in ethics, politics and economics, as well as in music. He won many major awards for character and service as well as scholarship. After Yale, he worked at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty “Action Lab,” conducting fieldwork in Pakistan and Indonesia. For the past year, he has been associate director of the Connecticut Heroes Project, a campaign to end veteran homelessness in Connecticut. As an undergraduate, Zucker had run Yale’s Hunger and Homelessness Action Project. He is a professional pianist, bandleader, singer-songwriter, and producer. A work he composed for symphony orchestra and big band premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2012. Before pursuing a Ph.D. in economics, Zucker plans to earn a M.Sc. in evidence-based social intervention and policy at Oxford.

Jordan R. Konell ’15 majors in African-American studies and political science. In Philadelphia, he has worked in the Public Interest Law Center and as a community organizer. In New Haven, Konell is the former director of Community Health Educators, the largest community organization on campus. He serves as president of the Pierson College Council, was a summer fellow for the American Federation of Teachers, and is a director’s fellow of the Yale Institute for Social Policy Studies. He is also a jazz trombonist. Konell will seek a M.Phil. in comparative social policy at Oxford with a focus on the intersection of race and policy.

Jane Darby Menton ’15

is majoring in history and global affairs. As managing editor of the Yale Daily News, she is a member of the three-person management team that makes all of the major decisions for the paper and reads and edits all of its stories. Menton, who won the Thouron Prize for a summer fellowship to Cambridge University, has also interned for “Anderson Cooper 360,” and is a member of the Yale International Relations Association. She also was the conference organizer for the Yale Model United Nations Organization. Menton intends to do the M.Phil. in modern eastern studies at Oxford.

Benjamin Mappin-Kasirer ‘14 majored in French literature and is now a medical student at McGill University, which nominated him for the Rhodes Scholarship. As an undergraduate, he was involved in the Yale Journal of Public Health, Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism, and L’Amuse-Bouche, the Journal of French Culture. He won the James T. King Prize for his research on science and the weather in Proust. He is interested in humanities as a setting to think about medical ethics and health policy. For the past 10 years, he has been a competitive fencer, namely competing for Team Canada at the 2009 Cadet World Championships and as squad captain, manager, and member of the starting lineup of the Yale Varsity Fencing team.

Marshall Scholarships

The Marshall Scholarships were established in 1953 as a British gesture of thanks to the United States for the assistance received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. Financed by the British government, the highly competitive scholarships provide an opportunity for American students who have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership to continue their studies for two to three years at a British university.

Benjamin Daus-Haberle ’12, who majored in history while at Yale, will study international relations at Oxford. Since graduation, Daus-Haberle has been working as a program coordinator and research assistant at the Center for Strategic & International Studies for Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Edmund “Ned” Downie ’14, majored in ethics, politics and economics as an undergraduate at Yale. He will study international relations at Oxford. Downie, who is a former Richard U. Light Fellow, pursued independent research in China. He is spending this year studying in India, funded by a Gordon Grand Fellowship.

Katherine McDaniel ’14 studied molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at Yale. She plans to study medical anthropology and public health at Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her thesis research focused on novel antibacterial drug targets, and spanned labs at Yale and the Weizmann Institute of Science. McDaniel’s interest in global health has taken her from the United States as a Spanish clinical interpreter, to Ecuador as co-director of the Yale-Ecuador HIV Clinic Initiative, and most recently to Cambodia, where she is a Luce Scholar at Buddhism for Development.

Sarah Norvell ’15, who is pursuing a major in classics — specifically in Greek and Latin — will continue to study classics at Oxford. She is an intern in both the ancient art and conservation departments of the Yale University Art Gallery.

Miranda Rizzolo ’15, an English and theater studies major, will study classical acting for the professional theater at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Among her numerous recent productions at Yale is the faculty staged reading of Euripides’ “Iphigeneia at Aulis.”

Rahul Singh ’15

, an economics and mathematics major, will pursue the MSc in econometrics and mathematical economics at the London School of Economics, then the MSc in computational statistics and machine learning at University College London. A Heinz Government Service Fellow, Singh has performed research at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, the Yale Department of Economics, and the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. He also has founded financial literacy programs in Cleveland and New Haven.

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Bess Connolly Martell: [email protected], 203-432-1324