Elliot Akama-Garren: For Rhodes Scholar, Hockey is No Distraction

Greg Bates

Elliot Akama-Garren has recently missed a couple of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology men’s hockey team’s games.

But it’s safe to say his coach isn’t going to get upset at him. Akama-Garren was justifiably absent, undergoing intense rounds of interviews for the right to be chosen as a Rhodes Scholar.

All Akama-Garren’s time away from the rink paid dividends as the MIT senior was named one of 32 American recipients of the prestigious international scholarship to Oxford University in England.

“It’s a surprise,” Akama-Garren said. “When I think back on the process, there were so many qualified candidates, and the fact that I was even nominated to have a chance to apply is an honor.”

Akama-Garren, who is from Palo Alto, Calif, is a top-notch student in the classroom, sporting a 5.0 grade point average (on a 5.0 scale). He is a biology major who specializes in immunology research.

A high achiever in the classroom, Akama-Garren is also a leader on the ice for the MIT hockey squad. Chosen by his teammates as the president, Akama-Garren, 21, is in his fourth season on the team that competes in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

Akama-Garren believes a lot of what he does on the ice carries over to what he does in the classroom.

“In hockey, there’s a lot of opportunities where you have to decide whether to make a risky pass or play or times where you have to be creative and adapt to different set plays or situations,” Akama-Garren said. “I think those are all things I’ve brought to other aspects my life, especially with research. In science, you need that creativity, that risk. That’s one thing hockey has helped me out with.”

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