Aakash Shah ’10 Is Ursinus’s First Rhodes Scholar

2010 Ursinus graduate Aakash K. Shah, of Cliffside Park, N.J. is Ursinus’s first Rhodes Scholar, it was announced by the Rhodes Trust. Shah is now in his first year at Harvard Medical School. Shah graduated in May with distinguished honors research in sociology and honors research in biology and neuroscience. He received bachelor’s degrees in Biology, Neuroscience and Inequality Studies, with minors in Chemistry and Sociology. He was a Goldwater Scholar, Zacharias Scholar, Bonner Scholar and junior member of Phi Beta Kappa. He also participated on the varsity track team.

Aakash Shah '10, Rhodes Scholar

Shah’s address to his classmates at Commencement last May described how during his work at a rural medical clinic India, he was able to connect to texts he read in his Common Intellectual Experience freshman coursework. As a biology and neuroscience major, he became interested in the applications of medicine and public health. He plans a career combining clinical and academic medicine with global health policy.

He joins 32 American men and women chosen as Rhodes Scholars representing the U. S. Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. This group will enter Oxford in Oct. 2011. Shah plans to pursue the MSc. degree in Comparative Social Policy at Oxford.

Possibly the most celebrated academic award, the Rhodes scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes.  The newly announced scholars were selected from 209 finalists from 88 different colleges and universities by Committees of Selection in each of 16 U.S. districts.

Ursinus Interim President John E.F. Corson and President-elect Bobby Fong both spoke to the ideals that the Rhodes organization emphasizes.

“You represent the high ideals of Ursinus and liberal education: preparation for citizenship and leadership,” wrote Fong, who is currently President of Butler University in Indiana.

Corson noted that Shah’s civic engagement activities at Ursinus spoke to his desire to be of service to others, and that Shah has credited his faculty mentors at Ursinus. “Aakash is a wonderful first-time Rhodes representative from Ursinus,” he said.

According to the organization, the criteria are “high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor.” — W.G.