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Marshalls go to two MIT students

By Reuven M. Lerner

Two MIT students have been awarded prestigious Marshall Scholarships, allowing them to study at British universities for two years free of charge.

The winners, Casimir M. Wierzynski G and Andrew W. Lewin G, were among 40 students chosen from a pool of over 800 applicants. The awards were announced on Dec. 11 by Robin Renwick, the British ambassador to the United States.

Lewin, originally from Palatine, Ill., plans to study management at the University of Sussex after receiving bachelor's and master's degrees from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics in the spring. According to a press release from the British consulate-general in Boston, Lewin eventually plans to work toward the exploration, development and private commercialization of space.

Wierzynski, who is now in his fourth year at MIT, will receive bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering this June. Originally from Washington, DC, Wierzynski will study toward a bachelor's degree in economics at Cambridge University, with the intention of eventually helping formulate public policy in technology.

Neither winner could be reached by telephone yesterday.

The chairman of the scholarship's Northeast Regional Committee, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Linn W. Hobbs, was not surprised that two of the 40 winners were from MIT. "Many MIT students are very deserving of honors like this; I just wish more people would apply," he said, adding that of about 20 students who picked up applications, about 12 went through the entire application process.

Marshall Scholarships, awarded annually since 1953, are Britain's official gesture of thanks to the United States for aid received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. The scholarships, which are paid for by the British government, are worth about $22,000 per year, and cover tuition, books, travel and living expenses.

In contrast with Rhodes Scholars, who must attend Oxford University, Marshall recipients may study at any British university. Students specify the university and program they wish to attend when applying for the scholarship, Hobbs said.

One important basis for selection is academic performance, Hobbs said, adding that applicants must have a grade point average of at least 4.7. An interview is also part of the application process, because "it is no good being brilliant and not being able to communicate it."

"The ability to excel in whatever field of endeavor the candidate has qualified in is the most important criterion. The idea is that these people are going to be leaders of all sorts in the US when they return," he added.