A Virginia native, Patrick Rumley currently studies Government, International Politics and Islamic Studies at George Mason University. He has traveled extensively, volunteered, and conducted research in the Caucasus, Middle East, and Africa. As an NSEP/David Boren Scholar, Mr. Rumley explored the efficacy of orphan deinstitutionalization legislation in the South Caucasus. Interested in the development implications of religious tradition and culture in the post-Soviet "Islamic Rim," he will pursue degrees in Islamic Law and Development Studies with special reference to Central Asia at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Raised in the rural environment of Wilmot, NH, Mel will soon graduate from West Point with a BS in Chinese and commission as a military intelligence officer in the US Army. Before entering West Point, Mel worked in the US Army for four years as a Blackhawk helicopter crewchief, serving in both the United States and the Republic of Korea. He enjoys soccer, volleyball, tennis, poetry, and singing karaoke in Chinese and Korean. He plans to pursue a MA in International Studies and Diplomacy and an MA in Chinese Studies at SOAS at the University of London.
Jenna E. Sherry, from New Orleans, Louisiana, studies violin with Mark Kaplan at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. A Wells Scholar and a member of IU's 2007-08 Kuttner String Quartet, she recently produced a Hurricane Katrina anniversary benefit concert for New Orleans' arts organizations and is active in planning extracurricular programs for the Hutton Honors College. She has performed as a soloist with orchestras in Louisiana and Texas and participated in music festivals around the world. As a Marshall Scholar, she will study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with violinist David Takeno.
Sabrina Snell, of Washington, DC, will graduate Phi Beta Kappa from Yale with combined BA/MA degrees in Anthropology. Editorial Director of Global21, a worldwide network of student-led international affairs magazines, she earlier served as managing editor of The Yale Globalist, which took her to China, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Venezuela. As a Light Fellow, she studied Chinese at the Harvard-Beijing Academy; as a Paskus Traveling Fellow, she studied Bolivia's MAS party, interviewing, among others, its leader, President Evo Morales. She also coordinates a bilingual tutoring program. She will read for a DPhil in Development Studies at the University of Sussex.
A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Cassie is a biology major at Yale University. She researches the evolution of avian color and has presented her work in the United States and abroad. A tour guide at the Peabody Museum of Natural History, she founded YEEBUG, an undergraduate organization which promotes local science outreach. Cassie, a seabird enthusiast who has studied gull ecology at Shoals Marine Laboratory, served as a delegate to the international Peace University conference on human rights and the environment in Caen, France. She is a Goldwater Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa member who enjoys playing violin in the Yale Symphony Orchestra. At Cambridge, she looks forward to pursuing ornithology research in the Department of Zoology.
Alice Sverdlik majored in history at the University of Chicago and wrote her honors thesis on famine relief in China. She led the Amnesty International club for three years and interned with a Paraguayan environmental organization, as well as volunteering at a free clinic in Dallas and a health outreach van in Chicago. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 2006, Alice researched affordable housing at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. She will complete two MSc degrees at LSE, focusing on housing policy in developing-world cities, and she hopes to work as a researcher with a nonprofit organization.
A native of northern New Jersey, lyric soprano Sarah Vander Ploeg has been singing since before she could speak. Her passion for public policy and arts advocacy work, however, led her to major in the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, where she is currently investigating a senior thesis on music rights and cultural reconciliation in South Africa. Previous accomplishments include Princeton's Shapiro Prize for academic excellence, the Ferris Prize for journalism, lead roles in music department operas, and winning the Princeton concerto competition, besides numerous professional performances around New York and New Jersey. Sarah plans on studying singing in a Masters programme at the Royal College of Music while continuing her arts advocacy work with a local policy group.
An immigrant, Viktorya juggles multiple identities and pursues a cross-cultural, inter-disciplinary approach to the humanities. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Boston University, with a B.A. in art history and minors in French Literature and painting. Her senior thesis, which traced the exchanges between Claude Monet and Guy de Maupassant, was awarded the Gregory Hudson Award for Writing Excellence and the College Prize for Excellence in Art History. She is currently researching the Monet collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and has interned at Christie's Auction House and the Nichol's House Museum. At the Courtauld Institute, she will prepare for a career in museum curating.
In receiving a double major in Zoology and Environment & Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming, Alyssa combines science and activism. She conducted research in both fish embryology and the new field of ecological stable isotope analysis. She is the volunteer coordinator and youngest board member of Biodiversity Conservation Alliance and a trip leader for her university's Outdoor Adventure Program. After volunteering abroad on organic farms, she helped found a sustainable student farm on campus and developed a sustainability handbook for incoming farm volunteers. She hopes to address international sustainable development while pursuing a Masters of Science at Oxford.
Zain Yoonas of Boise, Idaho, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006 with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Plan II Honors. He spent an academic year abroad in Amman, Jordan studying classical and modern Arabic. His senior thesis was a translation and study of the "Book of Wisdoms", a seminal text in the tradition of Islamic mysticism. Since graduating he has worked for the Boston Consulting Group, a management consulting firm. Zain will read for the MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford.