Brown: Record-high 4 students land Rhodes

Joseph Rosales
The Brown Daily Herald

A record-high three undergraduates and an alum were awarded Rhodes Scholarships Saturday, making this the first multi-scholar year for the University since 1970.

Brianna Doherty '12, Nabeel Gillani '12, Emma LeBlanc '11 and David Poritz '12 were among the 32 United States recipients awarded the prestigious scholarship, which goes to "young women and men of outstanding intellect, character, leadership and commitment to service," according to the Rhodes Trust website. The scholarship enables recipients to attend the University of Oxford and pursue any postgraduate degree of their choosing.

"It's a sign that Brown has arrived," said Linda Dunleavy, associate dean of the College for fellowships and pre-law.

The University sent six finalists to the various regional committees, Dunleavy said. All of the students had "confidence and maturity" that took them far in the competition, she said. The four recipients represent a "culmination" of institutional developments such as the Plan for Academic Enrichment, she said.

The major difference in the University's application process this year was the fostering of relationships between the candidates, Dunleavy said — the finalists workshopped each other's essays. Dunleavy also said she felt this year's committees were more open to the University's curriculum and what it offers students.

Doherty, a cognitive neuroscience concentrator, said all the finalists in her California region held hands before the decision was announced, and she "flipped out" when she heard she won the scholarship.

"I still can't really believe that it happened," she said.

Doherty is planning to study either experimental psychology or neuroscience.

Gillani, an applied math and computer science concentrator, said he felt "very blessed and very inspired by the community at Brown."

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