Thirty-two American college students, including one from Georgia Tech, have been selected as Rhodes Scholars for 2005, the scholarship trust announced Sunday.
Jeremy D. Farris of Bonaire, Ga., was among the recipients of the prized scholarship. He's a graduate of Houston County High School and discovered a new way to kill pesky kudzu plants.
Farris, who will receive an international affairs degree from Tech in December, hopes to study philosophy and economics at Oxford University in England, said Georgia Tech spokesman Bob Harty. Farris studied abroad several times, taking courses in Singapore, Argentina, Cuba and Great Britain, Harty said. He also helped found the Georgia Tech Philosophical Society.
Georgia Tech last produced a Rhodes Scholar two years ago. "It's a real coup," Harty said. "Historically Rhodes Scholars have gone to schools more humanities-oriented. You don't think of them going to technology-centered schools."
The scholars, chosen from 904 applicants who were endorsed by 341 colleges and universities, will enter Oxford University next October. The scholarships, the oldest of the international study awards available to American students, provide two or three years of study at Oxford.
"Everyone experiences shock, not really having known what to expect, and all of a sudden hearing your name called out," said Justin Mutter, a 2003 University of Virginia graduate from Lookout Mountain, Tenn. "After that it's this sense of gratitude, not only for being offered a scholarship but for the community, the experience of the whole process."
Mutter has spent much of the last year working in public health in Haiti and plans to study how global religious communities confront problems like poverty and disease.
Other winners include a Paralympic gold medalist in basketball and a political philosopher who has worked on a pathogen to control the invasive kudzu plant. Harvard University had five winners, and the U.S. Naval Academy had three.
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.
The American students will join an international group of scholars selected from 18 other nations around the world. Approximately 95 scholars are selected each year.
Anastasia Piliavsky of Boston, who graduated from Boston University in 2004 with a degree in social anthropology, was one of three winners who immigrated to the United States from states in the former Soviet Union.
Piliavsky came to the United States from Ukraine when she was 14 and spoke no English. She has won numerous awards and travel grants for her academic work and has conducted anthropological field study in India and Mongolia. She has also shot and translated a documentary film about the indigenous Sahariya people of India.
With the elections announced Sunday, 3,046 Americans have won Rhodes Scholarships, representing 307 colleges and universities.
The value of the Rhodes Scholarship varies depending on the field of study. The total value averages about $35,000 per year.