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Six Harvard seniors and one recent graduate were among the 40 American students named Marshall Scholars this week.
Nisha S. Agarwal '00, Aaron M. Einbond '00, Michael N. Jacobsohn '00, Bryan W. Leach '00, Anne-Marie Oreskovich '99, Sujit M. Raman '00 and David A. Roddenberry '00 will spend the next two to three years studying at universities throughout Great Britain.
The scholarship was established in 1953 as a gesture of appreciation toward Americans for the assistance that Britain received through the Marshall Plan after World War II.
The College was the clear front-runner in this year's competition for the scholarships, with four more winners than the University of Chicago, which came in second with three scholarships. Columbia and Stanford had two winners each.
Last year four Harvard students were awarded Marshall Scholarships.
The number of Harvard Rhodes Scholars, announced last week, fell slightly from three recipients last year to two this year.
The Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships are generally considered to be the two most competitive awards available to graduating seniors.
Adonica C. Lui, assistant director of fellowships at the Office of Career Services (OCS), said that the yearly fluctuation in the number of winners is not unusual.
"Our students have been very strong candidates, but we don't know how to account for it because we don't do anything differently [from year to year]," she said.
"It depends on the candidate and what they bring to the interview," Lui added.
After an application process that involved submitting an essay, a plan of study and four recommendations, as well as undergoing lengthy interviews, the students were notified of their selection by phone last Monday.
The winners have submitted their preferences for where they will study next year, but the actual assignments will be announced later.
Jacobsohn was not home to receive the news that he had been awarded the scholarship. Instead, he heard the good news from his Cabot House roommate.
"I thought he was lying at first," he said.
A Slavic Studies concentrator, Jacobsohn will study Slavonic and East European studies. At Harvard, he performs in Slavic plays, tutors at the Bureau of Study Counsel and is involved with Phillips Brooks House Association.
Leach recalled his demanding interview, in which he was asked about everything from his favorite malt whiskey to international immigration policy.
"It was crazy intense," he said.
Leach is a member of the Crimson Key Society, Hasty Pudding Theatricals and has coordinated Quincy House intramural crew. He plans to study international law and public policy and eventually hopes to become a diplomat.
Roddenberry says he will use the scholarship to pursue research he has already begun at the College. A psychology and biology concentrator in Dunster House, his thesis examines memory and dreams; in Britain he will work toward a master's degree in neuroscience.
The scholarship provides students with the opportunity to study several disciplines within their field of interest. Einbond, a Cabot resident, will spend his first year studying music composition and devote his second year to the cognitive science of music perception.
Raman is a history concentrator in Mather House and captain of the crew team. Next year he will study sociology at the University of Bristol, doing research on Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in Britain.
Oreskovich, who lived in Quincy House, is studying mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and will spend her time in Britain studying mathematical biology and its application to cancer research.
When she returns from Britain she will pursue a joint Ph.D. and M.D. program at UCLA.
With their plans firmly established for at least the next two years, the Marshall Scholars can relax without thinking about the immediate future.
Agarwal, who served as secretary general for Harvard National Model United Nations and founded the South Asian Studies Initiative, is looking forward to earning a degree in development studies.
After receiving the scholarship, she said she felt a sense of relief sitting in her Adams House suite.
"I was really apprehensive about next year," said Agarwal. "Now I'm really excited."
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