CLEVELAND - Shaan Gandhi, a fourth-year student at Case Western Reserve University majoring in biochemistry and chemistry, is one of only 32 college students in the United States selected as a Rhodes Scholar for 2007.
The Rhodes Scholarships -- the oldest international fellowships -- bring outstanding students from numerous countries to the University of Oxford. While there, the Battle Creek, Mich. native plans to pursue the M.Sc. in Integrated Immunology.
“Intelligent, insightful, articulate, poised, and courteous, Shaan embodies the qualities of a Rhodes Scholar, not only as a compassionate human being and a scholar, but as a future leader in cancer research,” wrote Lynmarie Hamel, assistant dean of undergraduate studies at Case Western Reserve University, in her endorsement letter to the Rhodes Scholarship selection committee.
“I have known Shaan for three years and I am still amazed at how much he has accomplished and how much time and energy he gives back to his community and how he does it so quietly and modestly,” Hamel said. “He is able to maintain a healthy balance between his studies and his extracurricular activities. Shaan also excels and has been recognized for his leadership and service to his community. All of his faculty rank him as one of the top undergraduate students they have ever taught or supervised through research.”
Gandhi’s academic/research honors include research grants from Memorial Sloan-Kettering and the National Institutes of Health. He is a recent recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship awarded to science, mathematics and engineering students, and was a 2003 National Merit Scholar.
His academic projects have been in the fields of structural and molecular biology. "I have been greatly involved in research since my freshman year in high school, in which I analyzed patterns in the polarization of light emitted from lasers," he said. "Since then, my scientific studies have included studying genetic mutations implicated in the metabolic disorder phenylketonuria." Last summer, he studied mechanisms of endocytosis and associated pathways at the Mayo Clinic with a researcher who earned his doctorate at Case, and he also has collaborated on research projects with several Case faculty.
Outside of academics and research, Gandhi is involved in several campus organizations, including the Case Western Model United Nations Society, the Global Medical Initiative, and the College Trivia Team. His volunteer efforts include serving as a learning assistant helping first-year students, coordinating fundraising drives for recent natural disasters and assisting physicians at the Battle Creek Veterans' Affairs Medical Center. Gandhi also enjoys badminton and practicing the trumpet.
Gandhi would like to attend medical school and become a cancer researcher to understand the molecular mechanisms of tumor growth. With that knowledge, his goal is to then develop chemotherapy medications that are more effective with fewer side effects for patients.
According to its Web site, American Rhodes Scholars are selected by regional selection committees which seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person, offering the promise of effective service to the world. The scholarships are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals. The scholars are elected for two years of study at the University of Oxford, with the possibility of renewal for a third year, and all educational costs, such as matriculation, tuition, laboratory and certain other fees, are paid by the Rhodes Trustees.
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