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Four Awarded Rhodes, Other Top Scholarships

November 23, 2008 | by Alan K. Cubbage
Samuel Kleiner

Lauren Parnell Marino

Video produced by Matt Paolelli

Four Northwestern University students or recent graduates were awarded prestigious international scholarships Sunday, including two students who won Rhodes Scholarships. Another student received a Marshall Scholarship while a fourth received a Mitchell Scholarship. All of the highly competitive scholarships provide funding for graduate study abroad.

The sweep of winners in all the scholarships was the first for Northwestern since 2003 when the University also had Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell winners, said Sara Vaux, director of the office of scholarships.

"This is very exciting news and a tribute to these remarkable students and all the people at Northwestern who have helped them prepare for the scholarship competitions," Vaux said. "We are very fortunate to have students with such breadth of interest and depth of talent at Northwestern."

The two Northwestern students who won Rhodes Scholarships are Anna Yermakova, a senior from Buffalo Grove, and Mallory Dwinal, a senior from Gig Harbor, Wash. Only 32 Rhodes Scholarships are awarded annually; this year there were 767 students nominated by their colleges and universities. The scholarships cover tuition and fees for a student's education in his/her chosen field, as well as a stipend for living expenses and travel.

Yermakova, who has majors in biochemistry, piano, and the history and philosophy of science and logic, is originally from Russia and emigrated to the U.S. at age 11. Since then she has won national awards for piano and French, has done research in chemical engineering and nanotechnology, neuroscience and biomedical engineering. She also has competed in ballroom dancing, salsa and flamenco.

"I feel good, a little shocked, a little confused," Yermakova said Sunday. "My parents aren't from the U.S. so I didn't know this was such a big deal."

Yermakova said she chose Northwestern because she wanted to go to a university that offered a dual degree program in mathematics and music. She plans to do a doctorate in mathematical biology at Oxford.

Dwinal is also a senior with majors in Spanish, economics and international studies. She also studied at Qinghua University in Beijing. In 2006, she founded a program that coordinates and funds programs in the Chicago public schools in English as a second language. She also has been leader of a daily meals program at a homeless shelter. She is ranked among the top students in the country in impromptu and extemporaneous speaking. She plans to do a master's in comparative and international education at Oxford.

Another Northwestern student, Samuel Kleiner, received a Marshall Scholarship. That scholarship provides funding for 40 American students annually to do graduate study in the United Kingdom. Kleiner is a senior from with a double major in the American Studies honors program and political science. He hails from Tucson, Ariz., where he was the state Lincoln-Douglas debate champion and continues to coach for his alma mater. At Northwestern, he has taken an active role in building civic dialogue by co-founding the Northwestern Political Union, the Northwestern Interdisciplinary Law Review, and the Northwestern Christian-Jewish Dialogue.

Kleiner also assumes an active role in Jewish life serving on both the Executive Board of Northwestern Hillel and the National Executive Committee of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He developed his interest in national government through internships at the White House, the American Enterprise Institute and the State Department. Sam is currently a fellow at The Center for the Study of the Presidency. He intends to complete a doctorate in philosophy at Oxford in International Relations followed by a law degree in the U.S. before pursuing a career in international law and diplomacy.

Receiving a George J. Mitchell Scholarship this year was Lauren Parnell Marino, who graduated with honors from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern in 2007. She is currently living in Uganda, where she is leading fair trade efforts. As a Northwestern student, she received the Lincoln Laureate Award, which is given to the one senior who best exemplifies the academic achievements and commitment to public service for which Northwestern is known. She also had been selected a "Volunteer of the Year" for her work in a wide range of activities, including fair trade, homeless shelters and the International Youth Volunteerism Summit. She was a leader in the Northwestern Community Development Corps, the campus service group.

A total of 12 students annually are named Mitchell Scholars; this year there were more than 300 applicants. The scholarship provides funding to study at universities in Ireland and Northern Ireland for a year.

"We're very proud of all of these students and of the other Northwestern students who also competed for these scholarships," Vaux said. "This is wonderful news."

Topics: University News, People