ATLANTA, GEORGIA — December 2023 — Stamps Scholars Fahad Abdulrazzaq (United States Military Academy), Nayantara Arora (University of Oregon), Jessica Chiriboga (Dartmouth College), Madelyn Letendre (U.S. Air Force Academy), and Abigail Ward (U.S. Naval Academy) have won Rhodes Scholarships for 2024, joining 19 Stamps Scholars who previously received the scholarship.
The Rhodes Scholarship is an international, postgraduate award for students across disciplines to study at the University of Oxford. It is considered one of the world’s most prestigious graduate scholarships.
The United States Military Academy’s Fahad Abdulrazzaq is a leader, academic, and athlete. The international affairs major is a Yale/U.S. Military Academy Peace and Dialogue Leadership Initiative fellow and has served as a Pentagon intern in the Joint Chiefs of Staff office. Abdulrazzaq was selected to be a regimental commander, directing a 30-person staff and overseeing 1,100 other cadets. As a Stamps Scholar, he used enrichment funds to become an experienced professional in international affairs, studying and researching conflict at Oxford University as well as interning with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C. His experiences have lent to a growth in confidence and passion in the field. After studying at Oxford, he will serve as a military intelligence officer and pursue special operations.
“Being a Stamps Scholar has provided me an incredible opportunity to gain thorough insights and life experiences in my academic pursuits,” he said.” Now through Rhodes, I’ll have the ability to share those experiences with an incredible cohort of diverse, multidisciplined perspectives.”
University of Oregon’s Nayantara Arora is passionate about the pursuit of equity, social justice, and human rights through an empathy-based public health lens. She majors in neuroscience and minors in global health and chemistry. She conducts research on global health biomarkers in Tunisia, and, separately, the relationship between vasculature and Alzheimer’s disease. She is a Phi Beta Kappa Public Service Scholar and has traveled to Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, and the UK, gaining experience in her field. Currently, she interns with the State Department, produces a podcast dedicated to uplifting immigrant youth stories, plays the violin, and loves learning new languages. She will pursue a master of science degree in modelling for global health and a master of science degree in international health and tropical medicine at Oxford. She aims to gain an understanding of public health interventions and access across local, national, and global scales, with the goal of using this knowledge to develop future medical treatments.
“The Stamps Scholarship helped me gain hands-on experience in my field, including in research, the foundation of treatment,” she said. “It is equally important for me to actively help patients while contributing to a larger body of scientific knowledge.”
Dartmouth College’s Jessica Chiriboga serves as student body president and president of the non-partisan Dartmouth Political Union, where she organizes events with speakers from across the political spectrum to advance the robust exchange of ideas on her campus. Previously, she oversaw the development of a strategic plan for student mental health, and her leadership played a major role in bringing teletherapy to campus. Off campus, her interest in politics led her to intern at the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, where she produced a report on alternative pathways to bar admission. Chiriboga majors in history and minors in government and used funding from the Stamps Scholarship to pursue a two-year, independent research project on the history of the Mexican presence in the San Gabriel Mountains around Los Angeles, and her seminar paper on the subject received the Louis Morton Memorial Prize in American History. She has conducted research at the Huntington Library, numerous archives and museums, and on the trails of the San Gabriel Mountains. She is a quadruplet and enjoys backpacking with the Dartmouth Outing Club in her spare time. She will pursue a master of philosophy degree in history at the University of Oxford, after which she intends to pursue a career as a historian or a federal judge.
“When I arrived at Dartmouth, I never could have imagined that I would have the opportunity to research the mountain range that soars above my hometown,” she said. “The Stamps Scholarship allowed me to fully invest in developing my skills as a historian, such as conducting archival research, attending academic conferences, and engaging with oral history and the digital humanities.”
The Air Force Academy’s Madelyn Letendre majors in biochemistry and minors in philosophy and uses her Stamps enrichment fund to support research on military dependent disability support systems. As part of this work, Letendre helped kickstart a military program at the Autism Society of America and contributed to a book chapter on disability education at the University of Sydney. She was a distance swimmer at the Air Force Academy and is an avid skier and backpacker. Next semester, she will serve as the commander for her squadron, which is called Viking 9. During her time at Oxford, she hopes to learn about improving the military’s approach to PTSD prevention and treatment, after which she will serve as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. She aims to pursue a master of science degree in clinical and therapeutic neuroscience, as well as a master of public policy degree at Oxford.
“The funds from the scholarship allowed me to pursue my research interests in military disability and enabled me to travel to Washington, D.C., Australia, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,” she said. “The Stamps Scholarship let me explore the cross-disciplinary nature of mental health policy, which drove this graduate research interest.”
The United States Naval Academy’s Midshipman First Class Abigail Ward is passionate about combating foreign influence campaigns through cyber policy and hopes to research Beijing-backed disinformation campaigns using Natural Language Processing techniques in Chinese. She majors in computer science and minors in Chinese, and she spent the summer using Stamps funding to volunteer with The Asia Foundation Malaysia, studying the impact of technology policy on small and micro entrepreneurs. She has also used funding from the scholarship to study the language and culture of Mongolia and plans to use the remainder of her funding to study the language and culture of Korea and Japan over winter break. Additionally, she spent the spring of 2023 in an intensive Mandarin program in Taipei, Taiwan, at National Taiwan University. At USNA, she currently serves as the Chinese Culture Club president, a member of the Navy Women’s Rugby team, and a Midshipman Group Studies program leader. Through the Rhodes Scholarship, she plans to pursue a master of science degree in social science of the internet followed by a master of public policy degree at Oxford.
“The Stamps Scholarship has allowed me many opportunities to study in Asia, analyzing the cultural context of many of these societies targeted by misinformation,” she said. “In the future, I look forward to serving as a naval information warfare officer and hope to play an instrumental role in protecting communities from disinformation through cyber policy.”
These Scholars join a legacy of excellence. The Rhodes Scholarship has previously been awarded to Stamps Scholars from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard Business School, the University of Georgia, the University of Miami, the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, Wake Forest University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Stamps Scholar alumni also include Marshall Scholars, Knight-Hennessy Scholars, Churchill Scholars, Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, and Schwarzman Scholars.
About the Stamps Scholars Program
The Stamps Scholars Program was founded by E. Roe Stamps and his late wife Penny in 2006, with the purpose of enabling extraordinary educational experiences for extraordinary students. Through partnerships with institutions across the nation (and into the U.K.), Scholars receive annual awards that range from $6,000 to $88,400 (four-year awards total an average of $24,000-$353,600) with additional funds for enrichment activities such as study abroad, academic conferences, and leadership training. The Stamps Scholars Program and partner schools evenly share the costs of the award. Penny Stamps passed away in December 2018, but her legacy continues through the Stamps Scholars community, which has grown into an international network with more than 3,250 Scholars and alumni. Find out more at stampsscholars.org.
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Director of Communications and Scholar Experience