Eleven Women From Foreign Nations But Studying in the United States Have Been Awarded Rhodes Scholarships

The Rhodes Trust has recently announced the 2019 cohort of Rhodes Scholars selected from Rhodes constituencies outside the United States. There are 16 international Rhodes Scholars who are attending or have recently graduated from American colleges and universities. Out of the 16 international scholars at American educational institutions who have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships, 11 are women.

Majd Abdulghani is from Saudi Arabia. She is a geneticist currently working in the Cheung Lab at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute. While obtaining her master’s degree, she proposed a research project that uncovered genes that may play a role in pregnancy disorders. Abdulghani holds a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science from King Saud University and a master’s degree in genetics and genomics from Iowa State University.

Yan Chen is from China. Currently, she serves as an artistic apprentice at Hartford Stage, a Tony Award-winning nonprofit theatre in Connecticut. She studied arts criticism as a fellow at the Eugene O’Neil Theatre Center’s National Critics Institute and volunteers as an editor at TheTheatreTimes.com, a global theatre news platform. Chen holds a master’s degree in dramaturgy and theatre studies from the A.R.T. Institute at Harvard University.

Claudia Kahindi is from Kenya. She is a development assistant at Legal Outreach, an educational nonprofit in New York City. During her undergraduate education at Wesleyan University, she launched an educational project in her hometown Kilifi and served as senator of the Wesleyan Student Assembly, residential advisor, KenSAP President, member of the African Students Association Board, and member of the Patricelli Centre for Social Entrepreneurship Board. Kahindi graduated with honors from the College of Social Studies at Wesleyan University. She has a multidisciplinary major of history, government, economics, and social theory/political philosophy with an African studies minor.

Shantel Marekera is from Zimbabwe. She is the founder of the Little Dreamers Foundation, a subsidized preschool for orphaned and vulnerable children. Additionally, she currently serves as global peace ambassador for Zimbabwe. Marekera is a summa cum laude graduate of Arizona State University where she completed both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in justice studies in only four years.

Mattea Mrkusic is from New Zealand. During her undergraduate education at Harvard, she wrote a thesis about climate change and migration in the Republic of Kiribati, which won Harvard’s Thomas T. Hoopes Award. After graduating, she co-founded “Collapse the Distance,” a storytelling project that aims to educate citizens of high carbon-emitting countries about climate impacts in the Pacific Region. Mrkusic is an honors graduate of Harvard University where she majored in environmental studies and human rights.

Nikkita Ngalande is from Zambia. Currently, she is a senior at Michigan State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science with a minor in economics. She is a MasterCard Foundation Scholarship recipient and a member of the university’s honor college. She has served as the vice president of the African Student Leadership Association, treasurer of the Actuarial Science Club and as a math tutor for the Engineering and Science Success Academy. Her current research focuses on the fiscal sustainability of local governments within Michigan.

Yali Peng is from China. She is a student at the University of Chicago Law School. Her research focuses on criminal justice, law and economics, and judicial behavior. She has clerked at the Supreme People’s Court of China. Her award-winning undergraduate dissertation examines the factors influencing the sentencing of larceny based on linear regression models. Peng is a summa cum laude graduate of Tsinghua University in China where she earned her bachelor of laws degree. She holds a master of laws degree from the University of Chicago.

Olga Romanova is Russian, but was born and raised in Japan. She is a senior at Harvard University where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering. In her current thesis project, she is developing a skin temperature correlation model, which will be incorporated in a wearable device for pediatric cancer patients. Outside the classroom, she has won awards for both a cappella arranging and synchronized skating.

Isabelle Stone is from Bermuda. She plans to pursue a career in economic public policy to mitigate the maladies of extreme income inequality. She was inspired to follow this career path after witnessing the injustices experienced by homeless populations that she serves in the U.S. and at home. Stone holds a bachelor’s degree in economics with minors in philosophy and faith, peace, and justice from Boston College.

Samvida Sudheesh Venkatesh is from India. She is a senior at Princeton University where she is pursing a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and computer science. Her senior thesis work attempts to visualize the dynamic spatial and temporal network of human-viral protein interactions during human cytomegalovirus infection. She has been involved in several other research projects at the interface of computer science and biology, including tracking the growth of fly embryos, enumerating the differences between cancerous and non-cancerous cells, and engineering bacteria in the gut microbiome.

Linda Worden is from British Columbia. She is a senior at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she is majoring in political economy. Her research interests include housing and citizen participation as areas of social policy. She has conducted research and work at the intersections of marginal identities, tenant empowerment, and housing insecurity in places like Vancouver, Brooklyn, and London.

Information on the record 21 women among the 32 Rhodes Scholars from the United States who will begin study at Oxford in the fall can be found here.

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