In recognition of their outstanding scholarship and their capacity for original, creative work, five MIT students have been chosen to participate in two highly selective awards programs--the Churchill Scholarships, one of the three most competitive scholarship programs in the United States (along with the Rhodes and Marshall scholars), and the U.S. Fulbright Fellowships. Both the Churchill and Fulbright awards pay for the winners to live abroad for a year to participate in educational or research programs and to help them gain a better understanding of people from other nations and cultures.
Emily Schwartz, a senior aeronautics and astronautics major from Lawrence, Kan., will spend the 2005-2006 school year in Cambridge, England, studying for an M.Phil. degree in sustainable development. She is one of only 12 Americans to be awarded the Winston Churchill Scholarship this year, from a pool of 150 candidates nominated by their college or university.
"I wanted to do something completely different," said Schwartz, who said the program at Cambridge University drew her interest. She believes that scientists and engineers have a social responsibility to help others in the world.
While she has enjoyed her studies in aeronautical and astronautical engineering and intends to return to them someday, she is looking forward to the new challenge. "I am really looking forward to meeting a lot of new people and gaining a different perspective," said Schwartz.
Schwartz earned a 5.0 GPA at MIT and won both her department achievement award and the junior year project award with her lab partner. Additionally, she set the MIT record in the high jump and won the Coach Award for her success in track and field.
The Churchill Scholarships were started in 1959 to honor the memory of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The award brings exceptional young American students to his namesake college at Cambridge University to pursue graduate studies in engineering, mathematics or the sciences.
U.S. Fulbright Fellows
Fulbright fellowships were established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and other countries. Four MIT students have been awarded fellowships for the academic year 2005-2006.
Edward Cunningham, a third-year Ph.D. student in political science, is also a research fellow at the MIT Industrial Performance Center and at Harvard's Asia Pacific Policy Program. During his Fulbright year, he will be a visiting scholar at Tsinghua University's School of Public Policy and Management studying China's energy challenge.
"The global importance of China's ability to negotiate successfully national energy demands is considerable," said Cunningham. "Within 15 years, China will likely account for two-thirds of global coal consumption, one-tenth of global oil consumption, one-seventh of global electric power consumption, and, more importantly, one-fifth of total global carbon emissions."
Cunningham majored in Chinese at Georgetown University and earned the master's degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard. He wrote a chapter for the first "Let's Go" travel book for China and has worked in Beijing for The Economist. He is fluent in Mandarin.
Janine Waliszewski, a graduate student who studies transportation in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will study the use in Sao Paolo, Brazil, of an integrated fare card that allows riders unlimited transfers between buses and subways during a normal commuting period (two hours). "Unlike the U.S., all the poor people live in the suburbs and the normal or rich people live closer to downtown," said Waliszewski. "So if you live in the suburbs and don't have a car, you have to make multiple transfers on your trip to work downtown."
Waliszewski received her B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, in industrial engineering and operations research. She spent five months in a Nepali village teaching English to grades 1 to 8. And she has competed in the Chicago, New York City and San Francisco marathons.
Daniel Stein, a senior with a double major in music and electrical engineering and computer science, will study in Switzerland at the Conservatoire de GenÌ¬ve with Jacques Zoon, former principal flutist with the Boston Symphony and the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.
"At this stage in my playing, I want to develop a personal artistic style, and Mr. Zoon is the person to help me do that," said Stein. "I admired his playing for years during the four summers I spent at Tanglewood while I was in high school. You aren't even aware that he is playing an instrument, only of the music that he creates." Stein said he hopes to study at a music conservatory when he returns to the United States and to become a professional performer. He is president of the MIT Symphony Orchestra, plays in MIT's Chamber Music Society, and has won the MITSO Concerto Competition and a Burchard Scholarship.
Marc Schwartz, a second-year graduate student in media arts and sciences, will conduct research at the Keio University Center for Foreign Language Education in Japan on ways to provide an Internet-based, peer-to-peer element in English language acquisition programs.
Schwartz is a design engineer who earned the B.F.A. degree in industrial design at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) before coming to MIT's Media Lab. He has designed a web-based filing system and is affiliated with the MIT Treehouse Studio experiment in online learning. His overarching goal is to embed novel features into software that promotes cooperative learning.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 18, 2005 (download PDF).