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Drexel's 2021 Rhodes India Scholarship Finalist: Maanasa Natrajan

October 16, 2020

Congratulations to Maanasa Natrajan (BS Custom-Designed Major '21, Honors), selected as a finalist for the 2021 Rhodes Scholarship!

The Rhodes Scholarship provides full financial support to complete a graduate degree at Oxford University. While a university endorsement is required to apply for Rhodes, advisors are not permitted to review applicants' personal statements. After submitting a strong application for the India Constituency, Maanasa was long-listed as a semifinalist in September and interviewed by a panel of academics, scholars, and diplomats. As a former Marayanoff Scholar, former Aspire Scholar, and dedicated student researcher, Maanasa is an active and engaged student and we are excited that she has been recognized for her hard work and potential.

The Rhodes Trust, supporting the oldest international graduate scholarship, funds 100 Scholars per year. Scholars are selected from an average of about 15,000 applicants across all national and regional competitions. Of over 600 applicants for the Rhodes India, about 100 are selected for long-list interviews; fewer than 20 are shortlisted for interviews as finalists, from which 5 Scholars are selected. These scholars will join the class of 100 Rhodes Scholars from all regional and national competitions, to begin their studies at Oxford in Fall 2021. We wish Maanasa the best of luck as she continues in the review process and prepares for her final interview.

Maanasa Natrajan is a senior at Drexel University, pursuing a custom-designed major drawing upon neuroscience, physics, mathematics, computation and chemistry. She wants to use these disciplines to understand how the brain processes information and represents the world around it, how thoughts are created, influenced by various factors and put into action. She wants to pursue a career in research, and is applying for graduate programs. Apart from research, she likes to draw, paint, play Veena (an Indian stringed instrument), write poetry, travel and volunteer. Maanasa would like to thank the following Drexel faculty and staff who have helped mentor her throughout her time at Drexel: Fraser Fleming, PhD; Susan Gurney, PhD; Brigita Urbanc, PhD; Luis Cruz Cruz, PhD; Kevin Egan, PhD; Katie Barak, PhD; Kate Hughes, Martha Meiers, Julia Wisniewski, Leah Gates, Kelly Weissberger, and Jaya Mohan.

The Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards supporting outstanding students at the University of Oxford, and providing transformative opportunities for exceptional individuals. The Rhodes is the oldest international scholarship program, issuing its first awards in 1902. Since then, more than 7,000 scholars have passed through the program. The network of Rhodes Scholars includes presidents, Nobel prize winners, Supreme Court Justices, and Pulitzer Prize winners, among other distinguished alumni.

Special thanks to these Drexel community members, who worked with Undergraduate Research and Enrichment Programs to help Maanasa prepare for her interviews: President John Fry, Dean Paula Marantz Cohen, PhD; Senior Vice Provost Aleister Saunders, PhD; DUCOM Assistant Professor Jessica Barson, PhD; PHC Advisory Board Member Leslee Geltzer, and Provost Paul E. Jensen, PhD.

For more information on this award, please visit our Rhodes Scholarship page or email Leah Gates at