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Four Indian Americans Named 2024 Rhodes Scholars


Four Indian Americans are among 32 Rhodes Scholars who will commence their graduate studies at Oxford in October next year across the breadth of the social sciences, humanities, and biological and physical sciences. They were selected from a pool of 862 applicants who were nominated by their colleges and universities. Ramona L. Doyle, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust said the scholars “inspire us already with their accomplishments, but even more by their values-based leadership and selfless ambitions to improve their communities and the world.” 

The scholarships were created in 1902 by the Will of Cecil Rhodes and are provided in partnership with the Second Century Founders, John McCall MacBain O.C. and The Atlantic Philanthropies, and many other generous benefactors.

Indian American scholars include: 

Mrinalini S. Wadhwa is a senior at Columbia University where she is double-majoring in history and mathematics. With an interest in the intersections of gender, religion, and law, she is examining how religious knowledge is developed, transmitted, and codified into law in the context of the British and French empires, with resonances for present-day debates over rights-based claims in our legal systems.  She also enjoys studying languages, translation, and topics in topology and geometry. She is co-editor-in-chief of multiple student journals, including the Columbia Journal of Asia, which she co-founded. She has won fellowships to support research in archives around the world, including in India, France, and the United Kingdom, and is currently chair of the Columbia History Association. She also co-founded a program providing a three-year English curriculum for low-income Indian students in New Delhi. At Oxford, she will pursue an M.Phil. in Modern European History. 

Suhaas Bhat, a senior at Harvard University majoring in social studies and physics, will pursue an M.Sc. in Mathematical Modeling and Scientific Computing and an M.Sc. in International Health and Tropical Medicine at Oxford. He co-founded an organization at Harvard that provides peer-facilitated group psychotherapy to students. He has developed machine learning models for designing novel drugs and helped organize Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, resulting in the university divesting its endowment from the fossil fuel industry. He has eight peer-reviewed publications and was selected as part of the Junior 24 cohort for Phi Beta Kappa. He has worked as a machine learning researcher at DE Shaw Research, American Family Insurance, UbiquiTx, and the Church and Chatterjee labs at Harvard and Duke, respectively. 

Nayantara K. Arora is a senior at the University of Oregon, Clark Honors College, where she majors in Neuroscience, with minors in Global Health and Chemistry. She conducts research in two areas: global health biomarkers in Tunisia and the relationship between vasculature and Alzheimer’s disease. A Stamps Scholar, and Phi Beta Kappa Public Service Scholar, she has traveled to Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, and the UK to pursue interests in global health. She is currently an intern with the State Department and produces a podcast dedicated to uplifting immigrant youth stories, plays the violin, and loves learning new languages. At Oxford, she will pursue an M.Sc. in Modelling for Global Health and an M.Sc. in International Health and Tropical Medicine.

Aishani Aatresh of Saratoga, Florida, is a senior at Harvard College where she is majoring in complex biosocial systems. She is also a fellow at the Program on Science, Technology & Society at the Kennedy School of Government, where she balances research in preventing infectious diseases with a commitment to global public health. During the global pandemic, she worked with the New York City health and hospital system emergency response and then undertook studies to understand the dynamics of COVID-19 with the global Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. She worked as a computational immuno-engineer with companies to develop monoclonal antibody therapies against human disease targets. She also tutors at the Harvard College Writing Center. At Oxford, she plans to complete an M.Phil. degree in Nature, Society, and Environmental Governance.

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