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MIT senior wins Rhodes Scholarship

Jennifer Lai, who is majoring in biological engineering and music and theater arts, is headed to Oxford.
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Caption: MIT senior Jennifer Lai
Credits: Photo: Jesse Weiner

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MIT senior Jennifer Lai
MIT senior Jennifer Lai
Photo: Jesse Weiner

Jennifer Lai, a senior who is majoring in biological engineering and music and theater arts, has received a Rhodes Scholarship to study next year at Oxford University.

Lai, 21, of Honolulu, joins a distinguished company of 44 former MIT recipients who have won the prestigious international scholarships since they were first awarded to Americans in 1904, according to the Distinguished Fellowships office.

Lai is a first-rate pianist who has played with the Boston Pops. As an undergraduate, she has conducted research in the molecular basis of glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive type of brain cancer, and in the use of engineering tools to develop protein therapeutics. She is also active in her sorority and with a support organization for HIV-positive individuals.

Lai will pursue a master's degree in integrated immunology at Oxford and eventually hopes to receive an MD-PhD.

Professor Linn Hobbs, chair of the Presidential Committee on Distinguished Scholarships, said Lai was “richly talented and deeply deserving” of the Rhodes Scholarship.

“The distinguished-fellowships competitions are much more about journeys of self-discovery than about winning, and MIT is justifiably proud of all our remarkable candidates this year, who have profited along the way in the selection process,” he said. “I am proud that Jenn can represent their remarkable journeys, too."


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