Seniors Chosen as Rhodes Scholars

UPDATED: Nov. 19 at 9:07 p.m.

While most college seniors are concerned about keeping in touch with their roommates after graduation, Quincy House roommates Julian B. Gewirtz ’13 and Benjamin B. Wilcox ’13 will spend the next year together studying at Oxford.

Both Gewirtz and Wilcox won the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. They were among six Harvard seniors—including Aidan C. de Burgh Daly ’13, Allan J. Hsiao ’13, Nina M. Yancy ’13, and Phillip Z. Yao ’13 as well—on the list of 32 recipients nationwide selected from 838 applicants from 302 colleges and universities. The scholars were selected based on their academic performance, leadership potential, philanthropic spirit, and athletic achievements.

The Rhodes Scholarship is "the oldest and best known award for international study, and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates," wrote Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, in a press release.

The winners were announced on Saturday afternoon in front of a group of students who had traveled to complete two days of interviews.

"The judge in charge of my committee called it the ‘Miss America’ moment," said Yancy, who will study comparative social policy and global health at Oxford.

"I was stunned,” said Gewirtz, who plans to continue his study of Chinese history next year.  “I immediately felt beyond fortunate."

Hsiao wrote in an email that his studies have been inspired by his parents’ migration from China to the United States and that he hopes to continue to focus his studies on modern Chinese and migration.

"It’s been most meaningful listening to people’s stories of both struggle and success in coming to the cities," he said of his academic work so far.

Though Daly said he felt most Rhodes Scholars focus on the humanities, he and one of Harvard’s other winners come from a science background.

"I’m looking forward to exploring different research opportunities in science and applications of computer science in biology and chemistry before I want to decide what I want to do for my doctorate," said Daly, a computer science concentrator at Harvard.

Yao, a physics concentrator, plans to study the intersection of education and technology in Oxford’s Department of Education.

"Education has long been a passion of mine, and I’m really excited to have this opportunity," Yao wrote in an email.

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