Yale News

Yale College students won several prestigious scholarships over the 2021-22 academic year. 

Four Yalies won Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and four Yale students and alumni were awarded Schwarzman Scholarships for graduate study at Tsinghua University in China. Three Yale juniors earned Goldwater Scholarships for undergraduate research in the fields of natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. 

Mary Orsak ’22, Liam Elkind ’22, Kate Pundyk ’22 and Shreeya Singh ’22 were awarded Rhodes Scholarships in November 2021. 

Orsak, a Russian major, hopes to learn from eminent professors in East European studies during her time at Oxford and aspires to teach Russian and Czech at the university level in the future. In an interview with the News, she credited her Yale Russian professors with “[validating Russian studies] as a real choice.”

At Oxford, Elkind plans to study comparative government between the United States and the United Kingdom — specifically reform, campaign financing and voting rights — then help to strengthen American democratic infrastructure. He is a Global Affairs and Ethics, Politics, and Economics double major at Yale. 

During the 2020 COVID-19 surge in New York City, Elkind founded the non-profit organization Invisible Hands, which delivered necessities such as food and groceries to those most at risk. 

“It seemed unacceptable that we as a society are reliant on these patchwork mutual aid groups,” Elkind said. “Even New York City’s food system relied on a 20-year-old answering his phone. Why is it that government isn’t filling these roles? Why is it that government isn’t able to help people in meaningful and effective ways?”

Pundyk, a former SciTech editor for the News, will pursue a master of sciences in social data science and a Master of Philosophy degree in socio-legal research at Oxford, helping her to study the connection between the digital world and human rights violations. She wants to examine how social media enables mass atrocities, but also how it can be used to bring perpetrators to justice.

According to Singh, a history major concentrating in South Asian studies, she intends to study International Relations or Public Policy at Oxford. 

“[The Rhodes] is one of those impossible dreams,” she told the News. “Throughout the entire process I never internalized it as a real possibility.”

Jasper Boers ’22, Sharmaine Koh Mingli ’22, Liam Arnade-Colwill ’19 and William Ge ’17 were awarded Schwarzman Scholarships in January 2022. During the yearlong program, they will take a Mandarin course, a course that details the past 40 years of China’s political, economic and social history, as well as electives oriented towards China’s internal politics, foreign policy and history. They will complete a capstone project and a global interest project at the end of the year. 

“The program is very explicit in presenting itself as an opportunity for people around the world who want to make a change and who aspire to be leaders in whatever fields they are to understand China,” Koh Mingli, a senior majoring in history, said. “It’s very difficult to make an impact on the world without understanding the role that China is going to play in the future.”

In April 2022, Emma Levin 23, Eric Sun 23 and Hamilton Wan 23 were awarded Goldwater Scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year. The Goldwater Scholarship is considered to be the preeminent undergraduate STEM award.

Levin, an Applied Mathematics major with a concentration in Earth and Planetary Sciences, studies hurricanes and climate change with Yale faculty. A molecular biophysics and biochemistry and data science double major, Sun has conducted research in DNA damage repair, epigenetics, and cancer drug resistance. Wan is a Mathematics major who studies dynamical systems, especially translation surfaces.

The Rhodes Scholarship was first awarded in 1902, while the Goldwater Foundation was established in 1986. The Schwarzman Scholarship launched in 2016.

Charlotte Hughes reports on climate and environmental issues in New Haven. Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, she is a freshman in Branford College majoring in English.