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Four MIT students win Marshall Scholarships

Four MIT students -- the largest number ever from MIT in one year -- have been awarded Marshall Scholarships for study in Great Britain.

In each of the last three years, three students from MIT have been awarded Marshall scholarships. First awarded in 1954, the prestigious scholarships were created and funded by the British goverment as a thank-you to the United States for its Marhsall Plan aid in World War II.

This year's MIT recipients are Shelley Cazares of Tehachapi, CA, Guang-Ien Cheng of Potomac, MD, Robert Gray of Columbia, SC, and Charles Wykoff of Clements, CA. They are among 38 Marshall scholars from 18 universities this year. MIT had the second-largest number of winners after Harvard University, which had eight.

Ms. Cazares will receive the SB in electrical engineering and computer science with a minor in biomedical engineering and Spanish. She plans to earn a doctorate in biomedical engineering, researching prosthetic limbs or sensory organs. Her interest was heightened by a 1996 summer internship at Bell Laboratories, when she worked on an electronic nose.

While at MIT, Ms. Cazares has been president of the Mujeres Latinas discussion group and a member of the MIT Women's Collective as well as a volunteer at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Museum of Science and the Boston Public Library.

Mr. Cheng (SB '97) will receive the SM in computer science and electrical engineering in June. He plans to study for a bachelor's degree in English language and literature at Cambridge University, with the eventual goal of an academic or editorial post in literature or the history of science.

Though his degrees are in engineering, "I decided early in my college education that I wanted to be more than a technical specialist," Mr. Cheng wrote in his Marshall application, in which he quoted Robert Frost, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Geoffrey Chaucer and the ancient Chinese poet Su Che. His MIT career has included an undergraduate minor in mathematics and writing, as well as computer science research and tutoring in Boston's Chinatown and Washington, DC. He has won several writing prizes, including the I. Austin Kelly III Essay Prize in both categories (1997), and he was a Burchard Scholar in 1996.

Mr. Gray will work toward a master's degree in molecular and cellular biochemistry at Oxford after earning the SB in chemical engineering in 1998. He eventually hopes to start his own pharmaceutical firm.

His academic career has always shared time with his devotion to football. In high school, "I always made a point of wearing football T-shirts to science competitions and my science team 'nerd shirts' under my football pads," he wrote. Mr. Gray turned down a University of Virginia football scholarship to come to MIT, where he has been a four-year letterman and 1997 team captain. He is president of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, where he has held other officer posts as well.

Mr. Wykoff will be a student in Britain for the second time. He spent the fall 1996 term at Cambridge University studying Shakespeare and philosophy, and next year he will begin working toward a doctorate in oncology at Oxford after receiving the SB in biology this spring. His plans to become a physician were influenced by his sister's death from leukemia when he was a child, and by his work as a medical volunteer in Guatemala.

While at MIT, Mr. Wykoff has been involved with the Horizons Initiative (a homeless children support organization) and was co-founder of SCORE (Service in the Community Towards Racial Relations Enhancement), president of the Sigma Chi fraternity and an All-American water polo player.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 17, 1997.

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