Maybe it was the home-cooked food. Maybe it was luck. Or maybe the seniors living in the Dudley Co-op this year were simply very creative and intelligent.
Whatever the reason, senior members of the co-op this year trounced their competition in the annual scramble for academic and travelling fellowships.
Seven, or more than 40 percent of the 17 graduating seniors in the co-op, a communal residence that provides a students with an alternative to conventional house living, won prestigious fellowships, according to officials.
"It was unusual to have so many [winners] from such a small residential unit," said Dudley House Senior Tutor John R. Marquand.
But he said that "the co-op has always done pretty well in these endeavors--it's always been a group of strong-minded, strong-willed individuals."
Marquand said he thinks the co-op students did well because the residences are "pre-selective for people who seek out special opportunities and who are unusual in their motivation."
"We always knew that we had excellent students in the co-op," said Dudley House's Assistant Senior Tutor, Peter D. Feaver. "That environment is very fertile for creative minds," he said of the residence on Sacramento St., off Mass. Ave. near the Radcliffe Quadrangle.
"It's a very different and unusual group of people. I wouldn't be surprised if the people who are awarding scholarships look for the unusual students," said Eliseo E. Neuman '87, a co-op member.
Neuman won the Lionel de Jersey Harvard Studentship, which will fund a year of study at Emmanuel College in Cambridge University. He said he will probably study English, his area of concentration at Harvard.
Most of the fellowship-winning co-op members, who like all non-resident students are officially members of Dudley House, aren't quite sure why they did so well.
"We were joking about it. We think it's incredible," said Teresa L. Brownback '87, who lived at the co-op this year. She said the co-op members joked about setting up a table in the Freshman Union and saying "if you want fellowships, come to the Dudley Co-op."
Brownback, who won the Benjamin Trustman Fellowship, plans to continue a study that she began last year of orphanages in Central and South America. She said she will use the scholarship money to travel to Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico and Columbia next year.
"I think its a fluke. It's hard to imagine that it would happen regularly," said Jonathon A. Shimony '87, who won the National Luce Scholarship, which provides funding for students or scholars to study for one year in East Asia.
Shimony, who concentrated in Visual and Environmental Studies is going to use the fellowship to study art in Tokyo and Kyoto Japan next year.
Shimony said that he feels that living in a co-op might have helped him stand out from other fellowship candidates. "It's one more distinguishing thing. In an interview, if the in terviewer remembers that you're the person who cooks dinner for 40 people, I'm sure that that the has some effect," he said.