Dunster House Resident Wins Canadian Rhodes
The announcement of the Canadian Rhodes Scholars brought joy and celebration to one Harvard undergraduate last Saturday afternoon.
Astrid Guttmann '87, of Dunster House, received a phone call at her home in Montreal from the selection committee only hours after it interviewed her.
"I was thrilled. I haven't gone into a screaming fit yet, but I am so happy to be given this incredible opportunity," said Guttmann. "It's just total self-indulgence to be 20 years old and to be able to drop everything for two years of Oxford."
"I'll be able to read for two years, and I can read whatever I want. I think I must have been born under a very lucky star," said the scholar.
The American Rhodes Scholars have not been announced yet, but will be after interviews this weekend. The selection process in Canada started a few weeks before the one in the U.S.
Guttmann received nomination from Dunster House and then from Harvard University. By October 24 she had to submit her application, and two weeks ago she was granted an interview, which occurred on Saturday, November 29.
Eleven of the 20 interviewees were offered scholarships: three from the Canadian West, two from the province of Ontario, two from Quebec, two from Maritime (yet to be announced), one from British Columbia, and one from Newfoundland.
Guttmann will represent the province of Quebec at Oxford University in London next October. Although she studies at an American university, Guttmann's parents live in Montreal, qualifying her for the Canadian scholarship.
Guttmann is concentrating in History and Literature, specializing in France and Germany. She is fluent in both languages. "Some of the interview questions were in French, so, of course, candidates are expected to be fluent in both English and French," said Guttmann.
Guttmann served as co-chair of the Amnesty International chapter here and also works as a supervisor at the University Lutheran Church shelter for homeless. She was on the sailing team and plays piano and clarinet.
As for the future, she wants to pursue a career in medicine or public health. "I'm very interested in the increasing biotechnology of our society, as well as the ethics of medicine," said Guttmann.
Born in Boston, Guttmann moved to Montreal where she attended school until eleventh grade. She studied at Gymansium in Germany for one year and then entered Harvard.