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Two alumnae win Rhodes, Marshall Scholarships
STANFORD -- Two recent women graduates are Stanford's latest winners of Rhodes and Marshall scholarships for advanced study in Britain.
Rachel Maddow, a 1994 Stanford graduate and radical lesbian AIDS activist from Castro Valley, Calif., has been named a Rhodes Scholar for 1995. She plans to pursue a master's degree in politics at Oxford University.
Julia Novy, a 1993 alumna from Portland, Ore., is a multilingual conservationist who conducted three very different research projects in developing countries while an undergraduate, and won a Marshall Scholarship for 1995. She intends to pursue a master's degree in development studies at Sussex University, focusing on environmental issues affecting developing nations, especially those in East Africa.
Maddow celebrated her award by fulfilling a promise made to her roommates: She shaved most of her hair and dyed the remainder blue. “It came out purple but I did it again to get it blue,” she said, laughing.
It was a symbolic gesture to prove she has not sold out to the establishment, she explained.
Novy's celebration will be more conventional: She will be honored at a small “surprise” gathering on Sunday, Dec. 18, her mother confided.
Maddow, 21, earned a bachelor's degree in public policy with a concentration in health care policy, and completed an honors thesis in the Ethics in Society program.
Maddow said she found it “difficult to be out as a lesbian and out about being radical” in Stanford's Public Policy Program, which she labeled as conservative.
“It was hard to be who I was in that kind of academic setting, but I also think that taught me how to articulate my positions clearly and argue for myself in a way that I might not have done otherwise,” she said.
John Cogan, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and former Reagan administration official who teaches in the program, said Maddow was “one of the dozen best students I have taught at Stanford. I have never met any stude ho has her level of commitment and dedication to public service, bar none.”
Political science Professor Susan Okin said that “Rachel has a sense of purpose and strength of character that I am confident will carry her far. She has increased my faith in the next generation.”
Maddow's father, Robert, is an attorney, and her mother, Elaine, is a school program administrator.
Maddow said she became interested in the HIV/AIDS issue in high school. She was active with the Stanford AIDS Education Project, and she currently is a policy assistant with the AIDS Legal Referral Panel in San Francisco.
On campus, Maddow worked at the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community Center and was involved with its speakers bureau. She also worked on issues involving worker and immigrant rights, homelessness policies, support for ethnic st udies programs and prisoners' rights.
She won a John Gardner Public Service Fellowship and a Ludlam Health Policy Fellowship. She also earned a Robert M. Golden Medal in the Humanities and Creative Arts for her senior honors thesis and an honorable mention for the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics.
In 1992, Maddow spent a term studying health policy from an international perspective at the London School of Economics. She said she fell in love with London and was impressed with the school, where students are very active po litically. Stanford students are politically involved to a certain extent, but in London “it was integral to what they were studying and doing in school,” she said.
Maddow also won a Marshall Scholarship, but turned it down in favor of the Rhodes. She is only the second person in 10 years to win both awards.
After study in Britain, Maddow plans to work in the field of health policy in the nonprofit or public sector.
Maddow was one of 32 Americans selected from 1,253 applicants nationwide, and is Stanford's 72nd Rhodes Scholar.
Rhodes scholarships were established in 1902 by the estate of Cecil Rhodes, the British colonialist and philanthropist, who hoped the scholarships would contribute to world understanding and peace. They provide fees and living expenses for two years of graduate study at Oxford University.
Novy, 23, graduated with distinction in human biology and minored in African studies. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa during her junior year.
After study in Britain, Novy hopes to work as a specialist in international development and environmental conservation, possibly for the United Nations.
Two factors contributed to her interest in conservation and international issues, she said: growing up amid the natural beauty of Oregon and hearing her father talk about his experience fleeing Czechoslovakia at age 11 with his family to escape political persecution.
She is fluent in French and also has studied Spanish, Kiswahili and Malagasy.
Novy's father, Miles, is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health Science University. Her mother, Katherine, is director of the Statewide MBA Program at Portland State University.
Novy jumped into research during her freshman year when she applied for and received an undergraduate research grant to study behavioral ecology of spinner dolphins in Mooréa and Tahiti. The next year, she received a second nt to study mahogany conservation planning in a Bolivian rain forest.
After studying French literature and history for three months at École Supérieure de Commerce à Paris, she spent fall 1992 using a third undergraduate research grant along with one from the Center for African Studie to Tanzania, where she studied Kiswahili, wildlife ecology and resource management. She also examined how recent changes affected the lives of rural women on Zanzibar Island.
This provided the material for her senior honors thesis, Women, Work and Empowerment in Rural Zanzibar: A Case Study in Nungwi and Paje Villages, which led a faculty panel to name her recipient of the Joshua Lederberg Award for Academic Excellence in Human Biology.
Novy's faculty adviser, William Durham, called her thesis “an undergraduate tour de force: beautifully conceived and masterfully written.” Durham, professor of human biology and anthropology, also said that Novy<:r' ects where noteworthy for their “self-motivating/self-initiated nature, and the pursuit of knowledge well beyond normal limits and expectations.”
Biological sciences Professor Harold Mooney predicted “an unusually successful career” for Novy. “She has everything it takes - intelligence, cleverness and the drive to succeed.”
James Winchell, formerly of Stanford and now at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said that Novy's fluency in languages and scientific methodologies “will take her to the most advanced and demanding realms of her field and profession.”
After graduation from Stanford, Novy went to Madagascar as a Fulbright Scholar for a year of independent research on sustainable alternatives to deforestation and slash-and-burn agriculture. She now is working as an internation al environmental consultant in Madagascar for the U.S. Agency for International Development on a project relating to domestic markets for Madagascar's flora and fauna.
Novy plays on a semi-professional women's basketball team and competes in triathlons. As an undergraduate, she worked for four years at the Disability Resource Center translating course materials for blind, low-vision and l ing-disabled Stanford students.
Novy is Stanford's 49th Marshall Scholar. Winners receive fees and living expenses for two years of graduate study at any British university.
The Marshall Scholarships were established by the British government in 1953 as an expression of thanks for aid given by the United States after World War II under the Marshall Plan.
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