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Three Stanford students named Rhodes scholars for 1992
STANFORD -- Three Stanford University students - an Academic All-Pacific 10 varsity football player who won the campus' highest award for service, a history and economics senior who founded his own litigation support firm, and a South African who worked at the Stanford Center for AIDS Research - have been named Rhodes Scholars for 1992.
Cory Booker and Robert Sternfels are among 32 American students chosen for the honor, which provides fees and living expenses for two years of study at Oxford University in England.
Omphemetse Mooki, a senior majoring in immunology and microbiology, was chosen as a Rhodes Scholar representing his native South Africa.
Booker, 22, a native of Harrington Park, N.J., played tight end on the Stanford football team for four years and was named to the All- Pacific 10 Academic Team in 1991. His senior honors thesis in political science offers a revisionist view of Booker T. Washington.
Still, he said, "It was the things I did between the classroom and the football field that made a difference to the judges."
Since 1987, Booker has been a peer counselor and administrator at the Bridge, a 24-hour peer crisis counseling center on campus. He also has worked as a tutor at the Onetta Harris Community Center and a volunteer at the Santa Clara Homeless Shelter.
On campus, he has served as a teaching assistant, a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Stanford University Presidential Selection, a member of the board of trustees for the Stanford University Alumni Association, and a member of the President's Ad Hoc Committee on Athletics. In 1991, he received the alumni association's J.E. Wallace Sterling Award for public and university service.
How did he find the time to do so much?
"It's gotten sticky at times, especially last year, when I was living at the Bridge, starting to be involved in student government and writing an honors thesis," he said. "It took a lot of stubborn faith and four-in-the-morning hours. God has really blessed me."
Booker plans to study politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford.
Sternfels, 22, is a native of Lodi, Calif., a small agricultural town near Sacramento.
"I was completely surprised," he said, of winning the Rhodes. "I've spent a lot of time on the phone today, talking to grandparents."
In addition to compiling a nearly straight-A academic record, Sternfels is a member of Stanford's NCAA Division I varsity water polo team,.which made three NCAA tournament appearances during his four years on the team. He also has served as a campus tour guide and a psychology research assistant.
What makes him most unusual, however, is his entrepreneurial bent. After searching for a summer job after his freshman year, he decided instead to start up his own business with another Stanford student, Mark Wallin.
The firm, Litigation Support Services of Palo Alto, hires students to summarize depositions for attorneys in the San Francisco Bay area, at about half the price of what paralegals would cost. The firm employs between eight and 12 students.
While at Oxford, Sternfels plans to study international law, specializing in Western Europe. He'll be turning over his half of the business to his younger sister, Katie, a Stanford sophomore.
Mooki, 23, went to high school in South Africa and won a scholarship in 1987 to study at the Milton Academy, a college preparatory school near Boston.
At Stanford, Mooki has worked on an independent project at the university's Center for AIDS Research, to see if the drug Ofloxacin could be used to treat people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus.
Mooki also designed and conducted an AIDS education project for students at his high school in South Africa and served as a student AIDS educator at Stanford, an English tutor, a counselor to underprivileged youth in the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program, and as vice president of the Stanford African Students Association. He is a member of the Stanford Running Club.
At Oxford, Mooki hopes to pursue a master's degree in microbiology. Eventually he hopes to teach and conduct research.
"My education experience in South Africa has convinced me of the need for qualified instructors in the country," he said in his scholarship essay. "I hope to provide students with a learning environment that will make them appreciate the value of education."
Harvard University led the nation with seven U.S. Rhodes scholars this year, followed by Yale with four, and Princeton and Georgetown with three each. Scholars also are chosen from 17 other countries.
Rhodes scholarships were established in 1902 by the estate of Cecil Rhodes, the British colonialist and philanthropist, who hoped that the scholarships would contribute to world understanding and peace.
Among the qualities sought of scholars are proven intellectual and academic excellence, integrity, respect for others and the ability to lead and use their talents fully.
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