Two Stanford seniors awarded 2015 Rhodes Scholarships

The prestigious scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford

Stanford seniors Maya I. Krishnan, a philosophy major, and Emily E. Witt, a human biology major, have won 2015 Rhodes Scholarships.

They are among the 32 American women and men chosen for the prestigious scholarship, according to a weekend announcement by the Rhodes Trust. Krishnan and Witt bring to 114 the number of Rhodes Scholars from Stanford.

"I am very grateful to Stanford and the faculty who have been my mentors," said Krishnan, who is writing an honors thesis on the relationship between mathematics, meaning and history in Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. "They have been amazingly supportive and generous throughout my time here."

"I am honored and humbled to be a part of the Rhodes tradition at Stanford and deeply appreciative of all the exceptional opportunities I have had here," said Witt, who is writing an honors thesis on the immunomodulatory mechanisms of vitamin D in multiple sclerosis. "I cannot thank my friends, mentors and professors enough for their wonderful support and guidance."

The Rhodes Scholarships, which are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world, provide all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford. Rhodes Scholars are chosen for their outstanding scholarly achievements as well as their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever careers they choose.

Maya Krishnan

Krishnan, 22, of Rockville, Md., is majoring in philosophy, and minoring in computer science and in classics.

As a Rhodes Scholar, she hopes to earn a one-year master's degree in theology and a one-year master's degree in Internet studies at the University of Oxford.

"Technology-driven changes in the way we access information provide new possibilities for conceiving of knowledge and personhood," Krishnan wrote in her Rhodes application.

"My academic goal is to acquire the training to understand these possibilities and their implications. To do so, I plan to study Christian theology and its intersection with modern philosophical notions of knowledge and personhood. I will then study new technologies to directly apply what I learn in theology to contemporary problems that arise from new tools in information management."

Emily Witt

Witt, 21, of Greenwood Village, Colo., is majoring in human biology, with a concentration in neuropathology, and minoring in psychology.

As a Rhodes Scholar, she hopes to pursue a master's degree in neuroscience, followed by a master's degree in research in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford – studies that would enable her to solidify her theoretical understanding of neuroscience and the methodologies of brain research.

Witt's primary interest is identifying the genetic and neural factors that influence how people respond to life's difficulties, and to discover novel therapeutic interventions for disabling mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.

"Professionally, I aim to bridge the gap between neuroscience and medicine by working to enhance translational neuroscience within the area of psychiatric disorders," Witt wrote in her Rhodes application.

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