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Brooks Awarded Rhodes

By Michael K. Chung
Opinion Editor

After a week of intensive interviewing, economics major Eileen L. Brooks '94 was awarded one of 32 Rhodes Scholarships. The scholarship provides two full years of support for study at Oxford University in England.

Recipients may pursue a two-year degree in any major. Brooks intends to work toward a master's degree either in philosophy and international studies or in politics, economics, and philosophy.

Afterwards, Brooks plans to attend graduate school in economics, possibly in environmental economics. From there, she would like to join academia, and later on go into public policy, at the World Bank for instance.

Although the scholarship first opened to women in 1976, this was the first year in which women were awarded more scholarships than men, Brooks said. She added that she is the first woman from Nebraska to be awarded the honor.

Intense competition

Brooks described the competition as intense. At the end of the state-level interview, the applicants were informed of the decision, and finalists were invited to the regional interview a week later. There, the applicants engaged in an all-day interviewing session, and the winners were announced the following morning.

The result was nothing less than thrilling, Brooks said, although it "did take a while for it all to sink in." Nonetheless she is very excited to begin her adventures in England next September -- her first visit there.

Brooks highly encourages MIT students to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship. "There are many qualified people here at MIT that would have a very good chance of receiving this award," she said.

Brooks also urges applicants to begin the application early, perhaps in May. The application consists of an essay, five to eight recommendations, and transcripts. An interest in serving the community is essential, and some athletic history is required.

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be under 24 years of age. Applicants apply through their home state, and approximately 10 to 12 people are selected for an interview. Two state representatives are chosen to advance to the regional level, which consist of six or seven states. Finally, four Rhodes Scholars are chosen.

Semester at Sea

Brooks spent the spring semester of her junior year at sea on a program sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh. This voyage toured the world, stopping in 10 different countries, with about 400 students mainly in humanities and social sciences.

At sea, the participants took courses. On land, they took field trips involving interviews and projects in the area. She visited the South African parliaments and economic think tanks in Taiwan, as well as China and Venezuela.

Although students only stayed in each country for about a week, the trip was "greatly rewarding," Brooks said.