Stanford University

News Service


NEWS RELEASE

12/11/01

Craig Kapitan, News Service (650) 724-5708; ckapitan@stanford.edu

Three Stanford students named Rhodes and Marshall scholars

Graduate student Vipin Narang spent last summer in Geneva working with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. Senior Nico Slate juggled an internship at the nonprofit Hybrid Vigor Institute with work to build his own nonprofit organization. Oeindrila Dube, a Class of 2000 graduate, has spent the past year and a half traveling to developing countries with the World Bank and studying economic policy.

All three will be studying at Britain's most prestigious institution Oxford University next year. Slate and Dube learned this past weekend they have been awarded Rhodes scholarships and Narang was named a Marshall scholar last month.

The Stanford recipients join 32 U.S. Rhodes scholars and 40 Marshall scholars who will continue their studies at British institutions next academic year.

"Having three of us at Oxford next year will be a blast," said Narang, who met the other two during the application process.

Narang received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering last spring, with a minor in international relations and international security studies. He returned to Stanford this year to work toward a master's degree in chemical engineering. At Oxford, he plans to study in the Department of Politics and International Relations, where he plans to further his interests in the two disciplines.

Narang's ambition to combine his knowledge of biochemical engineering and national security may have helped grab the award panel's attention following the events of Sept. 11, he believes. "When that happened it brought security issues into a more pressing light," he said. Narang hopes his training at Oxford will some day help influence the way the United States approaches defense policy.

Passionate about gender equality in education especially in developing countries Dube hopes to use her Rhodes scholarship to influence U.S. policy. She's already off to a good start.

A 2000 graduate in public policy, Dube has since lived in Washington, D.C., where, through Stanford's John Gardner Fellowship for Public Service, she has worked with the World Bank and Oxfam International.

Helping the World Bank study a project to expand basic education lending in developing countries, she returned to Africa, where she spent several years as a child. At Oxfam International, she researched the impact of debt repayments on education and health spending in 22 poor countries. In July, she began working at the Brookings Institution, where she again is studying education in developing countries.

"It's sort of the starting point here," she said of her D.C. endeavors. While at Oxford, Dube hopes to focus her attention on young girls' struggles to receive an education. After earning a master's degree in either economics or philosophy of development studies at Oxford, Dube said she might spend some time in a developing country before returning to Washington, where she hopes to help influence development policy.

Slate also is no stranger to international issues. He spent his free time last weekend trying to straighten out travel visas for four underprivileged students. He and the students will leave for Vietnam next week for the inaugural trip of Bridges to Home, his newly created nonprofit travel-education organization.

"In many ways I think the trip is even more important [than winning the scholarship]," he said. "I think, especially at this time in our nation's history, it's more important than ever to give people a stronger international perspective."

Slate will receive bachelor's degrees in earth systems and interdisciplinary studies in the humanities in June. He has been working full time for Bridges to Home all quarter as he writes his second thesis. At Oxford, he plans to earn a master's degree at the Environmental Change Institute. Eventually, he hopes to become a professor, so he can "work on ecological issues that concern vulnerable human communities worldwide."

Slate was surprised he won the scholarship. "I really did a good job of convincing myself I didn't have a chance," he said, explaining that he got to know the other applicants relatively well as they waited for three hours for the results after the final interviews.

However, the accomplishments of the three winners don't seem to be a surprise to their mentors at Stanford, who often used superlatives to describe the trio.

"In 40 years of teaching at Stanford, I've seen only a handful of graduates I felt were as deserving as he," President Emeritus Donald Kennedy said of Slate. Classics Associate Professor Andrea Nightingale described him as "quite simply, the most brilliant student I have encountered in my 11 years at Stanford."

Stephen Stedman, director of studies for the honors program at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, said Narang's academic performance at Stanford ranks him among the top undergraduates the university has ever produced.

And Adrienne Jamieson, director of the Stanford in Washington Program, said, "Oeindrila Dube is a star. It is not an exaggeration to say [she] is one of the top students to have come through our program out of 900 highly accomplished alumni."

According to John Pearson, director of the Bechtel International Center, the university felt there was a very strong core group of applicants this year.

Pearson estimates that if averaged out over a long period, Stanford students win about two or three Rhodes and Marshall scholarships each year. But in the past decade, there have been two years when Stanford had no Rhodes winners at all.

"I'm very pleased we're seeing U.S. Rhodes winners again," he said. "We're delighted with the results."

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By Craig Kapitanw

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