Mitchell and Rhodes scholars -- The Homeroom

By Gale Holland
LA Times Blog

Jonathan Brestoff, who grew up in Woodland Hills and Calabasas, has been awarded a Mitchell scholarship for a year's study in Ireland. Brestoff, whose family now lives in Valencia, was student body president at Skidmore College before entering a joint M.D./PhD program in genetics and gene regulation at the University of  Pennsylvania. His focus is preventing Type 2 diabetes and obesity, and he is in the process of patenting an anti-obesity  compound he discovered.

The 10-year-old Mitchell program, named for former U.S. Senate majority leader George Mitchell, rewards 12 Americans with scholarships to study at Irish and Northern Ireland universities for one year. Sponsored by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, the awards were announced over the weekend.

Also this weekend, Rhodes scholars were named, including Noelle R. Lopez of Tucson, the first student from Santa Clara University to receive the award. Lopez, a philosophy major and captain of the women's track team, has taken part in community service projects in Guatemala, Mexico and rural California.

Other Rhodes scholars included Timothy A. Nunan of Palos Verdes, a Princeton graduate currently on a Fulbright scholarship to Germany, who has translated articles and primary source materials on the rise of the Third Reich. Nunan is an actor and debater and wrote regularly for a Princeton weekly cultural and intellectual newspaper.

UCLA students claimed two Rhodes scholarships: Scott W. Hugo of Alamo, a rugby player who has conducted  research on U.S.-China relations, and Christopher D. Joseph of Santa Barbara, a varsity football player who has conducted ecological and geographic research with a focus on the causes of deforestation. Hugo also was a leader in the Bruins for the Obama campaign.

Rhodes scholarships, created by philanthropist Cecil Rhodes, provide two to three years of study at Oxford University in England for students from around the world.