Three MIT students have won coveted scholarships for study in England.
Mark E. Lundstrom of Palo Alto, CA, a graduate student in management, is one of 32 men and women nationwide named this week to receive Rhodes scholarships for study at Oxford University. Some 1,275 applicants from 350 colleges and universities in the United States sought the scholarships.
Ian M. Blasch of Lilburn, GA, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, and Seema Jayachandran of Salinas, CA, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, are among 36 US students chosen this month to receive British Marshall Scholarships for up to three years of all-expenses-paid study at any British university. About 800 students applied for the scholarships.
Mr. Lundstrom, who received the SB in aeronautics and astronautics in 1991, expects to receive the SM from the Leaders for Manufacturers Program at the Sloan School of Management in June. This semester he is on an internship assignment at The Boeing Corporation, and is also actively involved as a senior partner in a new high-tech machine tool and medical products manufacturing business.
He plans to study political science at Oxford to complement his technical and managerial studies and return to the United States to focus on issues of international competitiveness.
In his personal statement accompanying his application, he said that "to succeed, government and industry should adopt a collective rallying cry for the US economy:competitiveness." He added, "Future wars will not be fought with nuclear weapons, F16s and smart bombs, but with lathes, robots and the skills of the American employee."
As an undergraduate, Mr. Lundstrom was captain of the MIT ski team, founder of a program for handicapped skiers, founder of a student exchange program with Russia, president of the SAE fraternity and president of the MIT Chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is also a private pilot.
Mr. Blasch, also a pilot and skier with an interest in helping the handicapped to ski, is a member of the Air Force ROTC program and expects to receive his commission in June. He is one of only two ROTC scholars to also have been awarded a scholarship to the Air Force's Flight Training School and he recently was named as the top pilot in the northeast by the Air Force Association.
He plans to study advanced mechanical engineering at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London. His ambition is to become a test pilot and astronaut, help to design and build the US space station and someday be part of an expedition to Mars.
"I want to use my talents to explore a frontier like Lewis and Clark, Columbus, or Magellan," he said in his scholarship application. "My heroes have been the men who have challenged fate and made the unknown known. Like the soldier Odysseus, I want to travel through the unknown trusting in my knowledge and ingenuity to guide me safely."
Mr. Basch has traveled extensively as an exchange student, including a year spent on the Isle of Wight in England. He was introduced to the idea of thermal power systems in space while working for EG&G at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, where he assisted on a nuclear power propulsion system for sending a manned mission to Mars.
Ms. Jayachandran, who has a perfect 5.0 grade point average, is also a tennis star (she has been a member of the MIT varsity team for four years and won an Intercollegiate Tennis Academic All-American Award) and a Burchard Scholar, the MIT prize awarded for excellence in the humanities. She also has been a member of MIT's Committee on the Undergraduate Program, which reviews and discusses educational policy as it affects undergraduate programs.
Although her concentration has been engineering, she plans to study physics and philosophy at Oxford, eventually obtain a doctorate in physics and pursue a career in academia or government, perhaps in the area of science policy.
"I prefer physics to engineering in large part because I seek a discipline that answers or uncovers questions about fundamental truths," she wrote in her application. "My interest in physics unfolded as I became intrigued by questions that lie in both spheres of science and philosophy. What existed before the Big Bang? How does one reconcile deterministic laws of physics with free will? The study of physics invites contemplation, and the study of philosophy complements it well."
Her commitment to intellectual pursuits has been matched by a deep engagement in politics not only to support her candidates of choice but to have impact on public policies she is concerned about, such as education and civil rights.
She worked as a hardware engineer at Apple Computer in the summer of 1991 and earlier wrote software for a naval research laboratory.
A version of this article appeared in the December 9, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 16).