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Updated 10:00 AM October 15, 2007




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University nominates five for Marshall, Rhodes scholarships

Crossing academic disciplines, a passion for the arts — especially music and literature — and a desire to reshape the world for the good of humanity characterize the five current and former students who have been nominated by the University to compete this year for the prestigious Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.

The Rhodes Scholarships allow outstanding students from many countries around the world to study at the University of Oxford. Marshall Scholarships finances those who wish to study for a degree in the United Kingdom.

Rhodes Scholar nominees are:

• Michael Cromwell of Potomac, Md., a senior with a dual concentration in finance and Latin. He says studying these two disciplines, as well as performing in the U-M a cappella singing community, has shown him the power of language in different settings. His goals include helping to craft a superior U.S. healthcare system and reshaping the debate on social issues like discrimination and corporate social responsibility. If selected, Cromwell will pursue a bachelor of arts in classics and English at University of Oxford.

• Stephanie Ketchum of Otsego, Mich., a 2007 graduate with a bachelor's degree in Russian language, literature and political science. An early fascination with Russia and a year of study there where she immersed herself in the Russian language and culture and participation in Model United Nations have led Ketchum to a goal of government service, with a special interest in nuclear nonproliferation and arms control. If selected, she will study in Oxford's Russian and Eastern European Studies Program under the tutelage of leading scholars in Russian defense policy.

• Loc Vinh Thang of Kentwood, Mich., a first-year engineering graduate student in biochemical engineering. Thang, a native of Vietnam who emigrated to the United States at age 13, recovered from childhood diseases largely through herbal medication when conventional medical care was generally unavailable in his war-torn country. If selected, Thang's goal at Oxford is to join a program bridging international development, plant sciences and medical anthropology to study not only the mechanisms of herbal medication, but also its effects on healthcare development.

Marshall Scholar nominees are:

• Colin Lee Tucker of Ann Arbor, a recent graduate from the University, summa cum laude, with a bachelor of music in composition. Tucker also pursued a range of disciplines including mathematics, philosophy, and theories of complex and chaotic systems with the idea of composing music "that invites one to enter into a meaningful relation to the mercilessly inhuman cosmos." His long-term career objective is to be a composer active in higher education. If selected Tucker hopes to study with composer Michael Finnissy at the University of Southampton.

• Thomas Patrick Wisniewski of Clarkston, Mich., a 2005 U-M graduate holding a bachelor of music in saxophone performance and a bachelor's degree in English with a subconcentration in creative writing — a three-time Hopwood Award winner. While living in France and Italy, Wisniewski discovered a passion for literary translation. He believes music is a transformative art, and that "a great writer's vision is a gift to the world; the literary translator increases the possibility that the work will be received across cultures." If selected, he will pursue graduate degrees in literary translation at two U.K. universities.

A reception to honor this year's nominees is planned for 5 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Kalamazoo Room of the Michigan League. The event is open to the public.

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. Many of the faculty members called upon to mentor applicants are former Rhodes and Marshall scholars.

Timothy McKay, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Physics, co-chair of the council with Professor of Music Kevin Korsyn, says strong candidates like those nominated this year are people who do exceptionally well academically, but have a breadth of life experience and activities that go well beyond their academic work. "We on the council believe there are many more students at the University who have similar stories. We hope any student with the passion to make the world better, or anyone who knows such a student, will let us know about them," McKay says. "We would be happy to talk with them, and we hope any interested student will attend our information sessions during the winter term."

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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