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Updated 11:00 AM November 10, 2003



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Four students compete for prestigious scholarships

The time is fast approaching when the lives of three University students and an alumnus could change radically.

Provost Paul N. Courant meets Oct. 28 with students competing for Rhodes, Marshall and/or Mitchell scholarships. From left: Johanna Hanink, Clair Morrissey and Jessica Szczygiel. Not pictured is alumnus Raj Gupta. (Photo by Marcia Ledford, U-M Photo Services)

This week and next, the students—chosen by the Provost's Council on Student Honors from 15 applicants—will move toward the final stages of competition for the prestigious Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell scholarships with the University's endorsement.

The students are:

• Raj Gupta of Rochester Hills, a 2002 graduate with a bachelor of science in cellular and molecular biology and a minor in moral and ethical philosophy, currently a second-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania. His interest in biomedical research is targeted toward providing care in resource-poor environments anywhere in the world. [Rhodes scholarship]

• Johanna Hanink of Ashford, Conn., LSA senior, majoring in classics with a focus in ancient Greek and a minor in linguistics. She hopes to become a professor of Greek, encouraging others to see how ancient texts are relevant and important to contemporary society. [Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell scholarships]

• Clair Morrissey of Holt, Mich., LSA senior with an honors concentration in philosophy. She plans to pursue her doctorate in philosophy and is especially interested in ethics, social and political philosophy and the history of philosophy. [Marshall and Mitchell scholarships]

• Jessica Szczygiel of Haddonfield, N.J. (her family now resides in Marysville, Mich.), LSA senior, concentrating in Japanese studies and political science. She also is a Marine Corps officer candidate and hopes to serve as an intelligence officer. Following service in the Marine Corps, she plans to earn a master's degree in public policy and seek a career as a Foreign Service officer in the State Department. [Rhodes scholarship]

"We are extremely proud of these students and believe they have every chance to achieve their goals," says James Adams, professor of economics and co-chair of the Provost's Council on Student Honors.

"To arrive at this final group, the council members toured the campus last spring and talked with perhaps 75 to 100 students who expressed interest in applying for one or more of the major scholarships," he says. "From that effort we received 15 applications and chose to interview eight of those applicants, finally deciding to endorse these four." All three of the two-year scholarships require institutional endorsements of their applicants.

Adams says the council plans to increase and broaden the pool of candidates, noting that there is extraordinary leadership ability among students in all areas of the University.

"For example, we have talked with Bill Martin about extending our outreach to student athletes, and plan to hold similar conversations with such leadership-rich organizations as the [Michigan] Daily, the ROTC programs and community volunteer groups. Certainly academic achievement is part of the picture for success in a competition like the Rhodes, but so is strong evidence of leadership. Not all students are aware of this, so we want to spread the word," Adams says.

Wayne Petty, associate professor in the School of Music, is the other co-chair of the council. This year Petty was in charge of the annual Honors Convocation, the second of the three charges of the Provost's Council. "The third charge we have," Adams says, "is to provide enrichment opportunities for honors students campus-wide."

Members of the Provost's Council on Student Honor for 2003-04 are: Deborah Ball, professor of education; Susan Brown, associate professor of kinesiology; Stephen Darwal, professor of philosophy; Jan Gerson, lecturer III, economics; Elizabeth Goodenough, lecturer III, Residential College; Sandra Gregerman, director, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program; Jessica Hahn, associate professor of music; Laurel Northouse, professor of nursing; John O'Shea, professor of anthropology.

Linda Gillum, assistant provost, coordinates the council's activities under the direction of Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs, who is the convener of the council.

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