Three seniors, one alumnus awarded Rhodes Scholarships

Rhodes Agrawal

Mohit Agrawal

Photo by Carol Clayton

Rhodes Butterworth

Elizabeth Butterworth

Photo by Denise Applewhite

Rhodes Rosenbaum

Miriam Rosenbaum

Photo by Denise Applewhite

Rhodes Stuth

Astrid Stuth

Photo courtesy of Astrid Stuth

Three Princeton seniors — Elizabeth Butterworth, Miriam Rosenbaum and Astrid Stuth — and one Class of 2011 graduate, Mohit Agrawal, have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at the University of Oxford.

They are among the 32 American recipients of the prestigious fellowships, which fund two to three years of graduate study at Oxford. Princeton's four winners, three of whom are women, represent the most at the University in any one year since 1990.

Deirdre Moloney, director of fellowship advising for the University's Office of International Programs, said there was an increase in female applicants and successful recipients of the scholarship this year, noting the positive influence of faculty advisers, endorsement committee members and the Steering Committee on Undergraduate Women's Leadership, which in March issued a comprehensive report on increasing leadership among Princeton women.

"Faculty and other campus mentors, including those writing letters in support of applications, were aware of this lack of [female] representation and encouraged many outstanding women to apply," Moloney said.

Agrawal, a West Lafayette, Ind. native who majored in mathematics, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in financial economics. Butterworth, of Auburn, Mass., is a classics major who plans for a master's degree in comparative and international education, with a further goal of studying evidence-based social intervention. Rosenbaum, who is from the Bronx, N.Y., and is currently pursuing a major in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, plans to obtain a master's degree in public health. Stuth, of Hubertus, Wis., is an East Asian studies major with a focus on China who will pursue a master's degree in international relations. 

Agrawal, a recipient of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship in 2011, currently is enrolled in a master's program in economic policy and evaluation at the National University of Ireland in Galway. His interest in economics and politics blossomed at Princeton, where he engaged in a range of interdisciplinary work both in and out of the classroom.

"I am a mathematician, and from classwork at Princeton I've learned how mathematics drives applications in economics, physics, biology and computer science," Agrawal wrote in his Rhodes application. 

Discussing his future plans, Agrawal said he would "seek to combine my background in politics and mathematics to help craft economic policy. Implementing economic policy at the World Bank, the Treasury, or in Congress … requires that I first pursue graduate specialization in the field."

Agrawal's studies in Ireland add to international experiences he pursued as an undergraduate. During his junior year, he studied at the National University of Singapore. In the summer of 2009, he went to Ghana after receiving one of Princeton's Martin Dale Summer Fellowships, to help secondary school students establish a youth newspaper in Ashaiman. At the same time, he also worked in the community to help build a library as a participant in the Princeton chapter of Engineers Without Borders. He won an IEEE Gold Humanitarian Award to support the technology costs of the project. IEEE is the world's largest professional association dedicated to furthering technology and excellence for the benefit of humanity.

Tim Leonard, a research scholar in the Council of the Humanities, said Agrawal is a "natural for the study of advanced economics at Oxford and beyond, precisely because his intellectual breadth in adjoining fields, unusual for a person of his age, enables him to put technique in the interdisciplinary perspective required for effective and humane policymaking."

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Agrawal received Princeton's Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence for his freshman and sophomore years, and the University's George B. Wood Legacy Sophomore Prize.

At Princeton, he co-chaired the Butler College Council for three semesters and served as the vice president for the South Asian Students Association. In 2009, he co-organized the South Asian Dance Dimensions competition on campus.

Butterworth, who has long had a passion for the arts and education, noted in her application for the Rhodes that she ultimately hopes to return to the United States "prepared to promote arts education as a route to civic awareness and engagement in learning." 

In the future, she said that she could imagine "running a city school system and translating my research into policy implementation."  

"Liz combines maturity, creativity, intellectual rigor and clarity of purpose in a way that is quite unusual in someone her age," said Assistant Professor of Classics Yelena Baraz. "At Princeton, she mastered Latin and ancient Greek and authored provocative and original papers on Latin literature. It is to be admired that she now wants to put her talents to the service of studying education policy and of developing arts programs, something that many children and young people in this country can truly benefit from."

Butterworth is committed to bringing an international perspective to her work, building further from her study-abroad experiences as an undergraduate. She spent two summers working on field excavation sites in Europe, where she traveled to Gabii, Italy, in 2010, and to Nemea, Greece, the following year. The experiences, she wrote in her Rhodes application, were transformative.

"The heat was unbearable, my drinking water was the temperature of hot tea and sweat turned the dirt on my arms into mud," she recalled. "Though I imagined reading Horace in the air-conditioned comfort of Princeton's Firestone Library, I relished the daily physical connection to the diverse, thriving society that produced Italy's literary geniuses. My delight in getting my hands dirty to uncover intersections between literature and culture rests at the heart of my new passion: education policy."

Butterworth, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, received Princeton's Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence in both 2008 and 2010, as well as the classics department's Charles A. Steele Prize. 

Butterworth also has gained experience as an educator by serving as a Latin tutor on campus, and in tutoring children in after-school programs in Trenton, N.J., and in Massachusetts. She also has been involved in managing theater productions on and off campus.

Rosenbaum, whose studies at Princeton have focused on public policy and also have extended to pursuing certificates in African American studies, Near Eastern studies and Judaic studies, will use the Rhodes Scholarship to study bioethics. 

"My passion lies in healthcare, and I plan to be an advocate for marginalized populations," Rosenbaum wrote in her Rhodes application.  

"Studying the ethical justifications for and consequences of England's system for allocating healthcare resources will expose me to issues that are just beginning to present themselves in America, as the country transitions to a national health system," explained Rosenbaum.

Rosenbaum will complete the master's degree in public health at Oxford and then pursue a master's degree in public affairs at Princeton through the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative, a selective program offered through the Wilson School that is intended to prepare students for public service and that includes placement in federal employment as a core element.

"Miriam has a passionate and authentic commitment to improving healthcare for vulnerable people," said Hugh Price, a lecturer in public affairs at the Wilson School for whom Rosenbaum served as a teaching assistant in the course "Poverty in the Age of Austerity.'" He added, "What's also striking is her insatiable thirst for learning. … Miriam and the Rhodes Scholarship were made for one another."

Rosenbaum completed a summer internship in NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's pediatric emergency room and served as an intern at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. She also was a counselor at the Hebrew Academy for Special Children in Parksville, N.Y.

At Princeton, Rosenbaum, who is from an orthodox Jewish family, has served as convener of the Religious Life Council, an interfaith dialogue group. She has been co-president of SHARE, (Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education) and served as a student representative on the Student-Faculty Committee on Discipline. Through the Center for Jewish Life, she also received a Jonas Salk Biomedical Ethics Fellowship to speak on bioethics topics at Princeton.

Stuth's independent work at Princeton has examined China's national identity, and the ways in which that identity has been shaped by various outsiders' views of the nation and its single-party system. At Oxford, she will continue to focus on China's transformation and rise as a scholar of international relations.

Through studies in Hong Kong and Beijing, Stuth said she gained a close appreciation for the tensions and misperceptions between China and the West, and she said she now is seeking "a broader conceptual framework." 

"International relations at Oxford is an ideal step toward a career devoted to strengthening U.S.-China relations," Stuth noted. "By gaining expertise in both interdisciplinary studies of East Asia and international relations theory and research methods, I will become a stronger bridge, one prepared to promote peace and cooperation between China and the West."

"Astrid is everything Princeton could want in a student: intellectually adventurous, hard-working, and exceptionally curious, not to mention breathtakingly smart," said David Leheny, the Henry Wendt III '55 Professor of East Asian Studies. "What I respect most about Astrid is her unwillingness to take the easy way out; she recognizes that the questions most worth pursuing are the ones that require the hardest work and deepest commitment." 

Stuth arrived at Princeton as a Davis UWC Scholar, having studied at one of 13 pre-university-level United World Colleges located around the world that are dedicated to promoting international understanding through education.

In 2010, Stuth was awarded a Boren Scholarship by the National Security Education Program to spend a year in Beijing for intensive training in Chinese. During the summers of 2009 and 2010, she taught English to underprivileged minority students in Jishou, China, through Princeton in Asia's Summer of Service program. 

Stuth received Princeton's Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence in 2009. At Princeton, she serves as a fellow at the Writing Center and was president of the Tigressions women's a cappella singing group.