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Updated 10:00 AM October 16, 2006




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Five University students nominated as possible Rhodes,
Marshall scholars

With their passion and outstanding academic performance in areas as wide ranging as science, international relations, human rights, ancient civilizations, theater arts and theology, five current and former students have been nominated by the University to compete for the prestigious Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.

The nominees are:

• Matthew Becker of Indianapolis, a senior with dual concentration in honors physics and mathematics. His passion for the two disciplines has led to a strong interest in cosmology and the large-scale structure of the universe. He plans an academic career as a physicist and teacher. If selected, Becker hopes to enroll at Oxford University to pursue a Master of Science degree in applied statistics.

• Lyric Chen of Madison, Wis., 2006 LSA graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and economics. She plans a three-pronged career combining academic research with legal aid practice and policy to help change the conditions impeding justice for the citizens of China. If selected Chen hopes to enroll at Oxford in the Master of Philosophy program in comparative politics.

• Lucas Polcyn of Milford, Mich., LSA senior in the history honors program with a double major in history and Middle Eastern and North African Studies. He plans a career in international human rights law and working to have the Inter-American Court of Human Rights hold the same authority as the European Court of Human Rights. If chosen Polcyn hopes to enroll in the Master of International Human Rights Law degree program.

• Maya Soble of Washington, D.C., 2006 LSA graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. Her interest in the problems of Sub-Saharan Africans and the unrealized potential of the African continent is leading her toward a career in foreign policy and diplomacy. Soble hopes to enroll for the Master of Philosophy degree in international relations.

• Kendal Sparks of Greenbelt, Md., LSA senior dual degree student, working toward a Bachelor of Arts in ancient civilizations and biblical studies and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater. His research interest is focused on bettering the lives of the Nicaraguan people, especially in the areas of health care and education. If chosen he hopes to apply at Oxford for the Master of Philosophy degree program in theology.

The University, through the Provost's Council on Student Honors, has worked to develop a system for faculty to nominate, assist and mentor student scholars. Its goal is to help students that have attained high levels of academic achievement apply for the Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell scholarships. The council also helps to identify other possible scholarship opportunities. Many of its mentors are former Rhodes and Marshall Scholars.

Kevin Korsyn, professor of music and co-chair of the council this year with Timothy McKay, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Physics, says this year's nominees are noteworthy in two ways: "They're not only distinguished by their intellectual energy, but also by their potential for leadership and their hunger to make a difference in the world."

The Rhodes Scholarships allow outstanding students from many countries around the world to study at the University of Oxford. Marshall Scholarships finance graduate and sometimes undergraduate students who wish to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. The George Mitchell Scholarship Program provides for one year of graduate work in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Information sessions for students interested in applying for one or more of these major scholarships will be held in January and February. For further information and more details about each of the scholarship programs, or on how to nominate a student or become a mentor, go to

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