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Rhodes Scholars Are a Diversified Group

November 24, 2003

SEATTLE (AP) _ A devotee of ancient Egyptian history, an aspiring cancer researcher and a soldier on his way to Iraq are among the 32 American college students chosen as 2004 Rhodes Scholars.

Allyssa M. Lamb, Wen Shi, Daniel I. Helmer and their fellow recipients were selected from 963 applicants endorsed by 366 colleges and universities to attend the University of Oxford in England starting in October. Their scholarships provide two or three years of study.

``I was floored,″ said Lamb, 22, a senior at the University of Washington studying classics and biblical and Near Eastern studies.

Lamb, of Redmond, Wash., has studied in Rome, worked as a research assistant at an excavation in Israel and plans to study Egyptology at Oxford. Ancient Egypt has interested Lamb since she was 8 and received a book about it from her grandfather.

``I’m captivated not only by differences that exist between current civilizations and ancient peoples but also some of the similarities,″ she said.

Shi struggled with English when he came to the United States five years ago from China, where his mother and other family members still live. His father lives in West Bloomfield, Mich.

Today, Shi is studying biology at Johns Hopkins University and plans to become a cancer researcher. He will use his scholarship to work to study ways to try to stop the formation of new blood vessels in tumors.

``I certainly hope to help find the cure to cancer,″ Shi said. ``Cancer is a very complicated process, and I’ll do whatever I can to help find the cure.″

As the winners were announced late Saturday and early Sunday, many of the finalists waited impatiently at ceremonies in cities across the country.

``It was really nerve-racking,″ said Rachael A. Wagner, 21, a Harvard University senior from Virginia Beach, Va., who waited with a group in Washington. ``I turned to the woman next to me and said, ‘did he say my name?’ I was really shocked and excited.″

Wagner’s Harvard led the class of 2004 _ the 100th year of American Rhodes Scholars _ with four of the 32 American scholars. The U.S. Military Academy, Stanford University, Boston College, Williams College and Washington University can each boast of two. The two from Boston College are the school’s first.

Wagner, majoring in economics and social anthropology, has worked with an organization that helps women in Boston get an economic start, helped draw up a 25-year strategic plan for her home state of Virginia, and aspires to help other nations.

Helmer, of Colts Neck, N.J., is a West Point graduate who expects to be shipped to Iraq within 30 days.

``I can learn a lot at Oxford that will benefit the Army, and certainly my primary goal is serving the soldiers that I work for,″ Helmer said Sunday. He said he expects to be back in time to start his studies in international relations.

Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. Winners are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among other attributes.


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