New Rhodes Scholars Include 2 From Massachusetts

Thirteen men and women with ties to New England are among the 32 new Rhodes scholars named Sunday, including two from Massachusetts and a player on the Yale University basketball team.

The scholars who will attend the University of Oxford in England beginning in October 2015, with expenses fully paid, include Massachusetts residents Noam Angrist of Brookline and Kate Nussenbaum of Newton, and Matt Townsend, a 6-foot-7 starting forward on Yale's basketball team from Chappaqua, New York.

Angrist, 23, graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge in 2013 with majors in economics and mathematics. He did economic research for the World Bank, the White House and the Affordable Care Act while at MIT. He also was a Fulbright scholar, and founded an HIV education program in Botswana in Africa designed to discourage intergenerational sex - also called "sugar daddy awareness."

Angrist was flying back to Bostwana on Sunday from Boston. He continues to work in Botswana with plans to start the HIV education program in several other countries in southern Africa. He plans to study evidence-based social intervention and policy evaluation at Oxford.

"It's a total dream come true," he said of the Rhodes scholarship. "The skills I will get at (Oxford) are just incredible, and I'll come back into the world fully equipped to do what I love to do."

Nussenbaum, 21, is a senior at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, majoring in cognitive neuroscience and science and society. She has focused on how social factors distort learning capacity and how to surmount those barriers.

"I kind of just sat there in disbelief," Nussenbaum said about being told Saturday night that she was a Rhodes scholar. "I was excited and eager to go to Oxford next year."

She said she wants to study the mechanisms behind attention and memory, particularly in children and adults who struggle with learning and memory.

Townsend is a senior at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, majoring in molecular, cellular and developmental biology. His main interest is obesity-related diseases and their socio-cultural, environmental and biological roots, Rhodes Trust officials said. He is planning to study medical anthropology at Oxford.

Other Rhodes scholars with New England ties include:

- Benjamin Sprung-Keyser, of Los Angeles, a senior at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

- Ruth Fong, of Somerset, New Jersey, a senior at Harvard.

- Gabriel Zucker, of New York City, a 2012 graduate of Yale.

- Jordan Konell, of Philadelphia, a senior at Yale.

- Ridwan Hassen, of Marietta, Georgia, a senior at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

- Jane Darby Menton, of Tallahassee, Florida, a senior at Yale.

- Abishek Kulshreshtha, of Grapevine, Texas, a senior at Brown.

- Anisha Gururaj, of Chesterfield, Missouri, a senior at MIT.

- Elliot Akama-Garren, of Palo Alto, California, a senior at MIT.

- David R.K. Adler, of Encino, California, a May graduate of Brown now on a Fulbright research fellowship.

This article was originally published on November 23, 2014.


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