Washington University in St. Louis graduate named Rhodes Scholar

Recent alumna Priya Mallika Sury one of 32 U.S. winners

Priya Mallika Sury, a 2010 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, has been named a Rhodes Scholar.

Priya Mallika Sury. Download hi-res image.

Sury, 22, is among 32 students from across the United States chosen for graduate study at the University of Oxford in England. Winners of the highly acclaimed award are selected on the basis of their undergraduate academic achievements, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor.

Sury graduated summa cum laude in May 2010 with a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology and Spanish, both in Arts & Sciences.

Since the first American scholars were selected in 1904, 26 Washington University students, including Sury, have won the Rhodes Scholarship, which is the world’s oldest international fellowship.

“Priya has done remarkable work and will continue to make amazing contributions throughout her life,” says Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, PhD. “Many of the faculty describe her as ‘intellectually gifted’ and ‘one of the best’ they have ever taught. She possesses the qualities of leadership, scholarship and service that distinguish those who go on to great success. Her selection as a Rhodes Scholar is a tremendous honor for both Priya and the Washington University faculty who guided her during her time here.”

Sury will be provided two or three years of all-expenses-paid study at Oxford and will begin her studies next fall. She will join approximately 80 Rhodes Scholars selected from around the world.

A second recent alumna, Tegan Bukowski, 23, was a finalist for the scholarship.

Currently in medical school at the University of Minnesota, her home state, Sury has a passion for volunteering that she honed during her time at WUSTL.

Sury became a leader for College Connections, the Rodriguez Scholars signature tutoring program that worked with students at Eskridge High School, encouraging them to apply to college and assisting them with the process. (The school was part of the Wellston School District, which has since merged with the Normandy School District.)

Sury saw that the students were not thoroughly exposed to science, which was translating into lower scores on standardized tests. To combat this, she received the support of doctors at the Mayo Clinic, where she held a summer research internship to help create a multimedia science curriculum for these students to complement their basic courses.

Fluent in Spanish, she spent time each week as a leader in Cambios, a WUSTL Spanish language tutoring program for local Latino youth. She was instrumental in bringing WUSTL students to south St. Louis City to work with this underserved population.

In 2008, with fellow junior Fidel Desir, Sury was awarded a 100 Projects for Peace Social Change Grant to help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the Dominican Republic.

Sury and Desir trained hospital staff to continue their work. They returned to the Dominican Republic this year to visit a hospital in another location.

Her senior thesis project was an investigation of yoga in Western biomedicine, which she began while studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, and completed while interning at the Mayo Clinic.

Sury is the only student in WUSTL history to be selected as a Danforth Scholar, an Ervin Scholar and a Rodriguez Scholar, three highly selective four-year merit scholarships.

Bukowski earned bachelor’s degrees in architecture and environmental studies from WUSTL’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and College of Arts & Sciences in May 2010, graduating summa cum laude. A LEED Accredited Professional, she is enrolled in the master’s program at the Yale School of Architecture in New Haven.

As an undergraduate, Bukowski co-founded several African initiatives. These include the Mango Tree Project, which is developing a sustainable energy plan for the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, a rapidly growing orphanage located outside Kigali, Rwanda. She also serves as multimedia director for Sisi ni Amani (Swahili for “We are Peace”), which is employing crowd-sourcing technology to map Kenyan peace efforts leading up to the 2012 elections.