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Four Harvard Seniors Selected for Marshall Scholarship

Matthews Hall, a freshman dorm at the heart of Harvard Yard.
Matthews Hall, a freshman dorm at the heart of Harvard Yard. By Megan M. Ross
By Bridger J. Gordon and Elizabeth X. Guo, Contributing Writers

Four seniors at the College were named winners of the 2019 Marshall Scholarship on Monday — marking the largest number of Harvard undergraduates selected as Marshall Scholars in the last five years.

Lyndon H. Hanrahan ’19, Justin C. Lee ’19, Manny A. Medrano ’19, and Vaibhav Mohanty ’19 are among the 48 U.S. undergraduate students selected for the prestigious scholarship, which covers the cost of a graduate-level education at an institution in the United Kingdom in any field of study. This year’s scholarship class is the largest in the program’s 65-year history, according to a press release.

Hanrahan, a Quincy resident, is pursuing a joint concentration in English and Visual and Environmental Sciences with a secondary in Theater, Dance, and Media. Hanrahan said he aspires to become a filmmaker.

“It was so surreal to find out. I didn’t think I was going to get it,” Hanrahan said. “I knew I was never going to be able to afford studying film post-grad, unless there was some sort of radical scholarship that allowed me to do so. I just sort of thought it was too wonderful an opportunity to pass up.”

Hanrahan said that during the in-person interview for the scholarship, he “tried to make a real plead for the arts as having a deserving and valid place within these post-graduate fellowships.” Hanrahan plans on using the scholarship to study at the graduate school at the Royal College of Art in London.

Lee, who is an Eliot resident concentrating in Economics with a secondary in Statistics, said he will use the scholarship to pursue a Master of Philosophy in Economic and Social History at the University of Oxford. Encouraged to apply by Harvard Economics Professor and former Marshall Scholar Benjamin M. Friedman, Lee said he found the scholarship appealing because of the opportunity it presented for studying economic philosophy in Britain.

“I knew I wanted to do graduate work in economics in particular, but in the United States, the econ programs are very mathematical, very empirically based, and that’s different from the more philosophical focus and historical focus of British universities,” Lee said.

On campus, Lee served as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Economics Review and currently captains the Harvard Triathlon Club. He said that he also looks forward to joining Oxford’s triathlon team next fall.

Medrano, who is a fellow Eliot resident, also shares Lee’s enthusiasm for studying abroad. Medrano is concentrating in applied math at the College with a secondary in archaeology, and he will be pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland next fall.

Since 2016, Medrano has been researching khipus, which are Incan artifacts were used to encode numeral information, with the Harvard Anthropology Department. Deciphering this language has been, according to Medrano, “the perfect applied math problem.”

“To study in a different country is always special and especially because the field that I work in is global,” Medrano said. “I study another continent, so studying it from different viewpoints and from experts in different locations is really helpful to develop my own views on how to look at history and the past.”

Mohanty, a resident of Quincy House, concentrates in Chemistry and Physics with a secondary in Music. Next fall, he plans to study theoretical physics at the University of Oxford.

“I’m incredibly excited. I’m looking forward to the wonderful opportunities that I’m going to have in the U.K. and in Oxford,” Mohanty said. “I want to become a physician scientist, but I want to combine theoretical and computational methods from physics and apply them to biology.”

Mohanty praised the Marshall Scholarship’s mission of fostering international collaboration and interdisciplinary study.

“I think the Marshall has been looking for scholarly independence and an ability to collaborate with individuals across disciplines towards this common goal,” Mohanty said.

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