Two Stanford alumni, one senior named Rhodes Scholars

Alumni Emma Pierson and Miles Unterreiner and senior Meredith Wheeler bring to 112 the number of Stanford Rhodes Scholars.

Two Stanford alumni and a current senior have been named U.S. Rhodes Scholars, according to an announcement made this weekend by the Rhodes Trust.

This year's Rhodes Scholars are Emma Pierson, who graduated from Stanford in June with a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in computer science; Meredith Wheeler, a senior majoring in history and political science; and Miles Unterreiner, who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in history from Stanford in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

They are three of 32 American men and women chosen as Rhodes Scholars. The Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. Pierson, Wheeler and Unterreiner bring to 112 the number of Rhodes Scholars from Stanford.

The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. Scholars are chosen for their outstanding scholarly achievements as well as their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever careers they choose.

Jayne PattersonEmma Pierson portrait

Emma Pierson

Pierson, who is from Arlington, Va., is now working for 23andMe, a personal genomics and biotechnology company. While at Stanford, she was president of the Stanford Debate Society and won second place in the U.S. national debate championships. Pierson has also done statistical analyses of sexism in sports and in responses to sexual assault trials. She plans to pursue a doctorate of philosophy in computational biology at Oxford.

In April, Pierson was awarded a 2013 Deans' Award for Academic Achievement for "her talents and accomplishments in physics, machine learning, statistical analysis and interpretation of data, writing and debating." Her professors lauded her "drive to apply her skills to projects with a strong positive social impact" and her engagement with "problems that have the potential to help people."

Joy LeightonMeredith Wheeler portrait

Meredith Wheeler

Wheeler, who is from Fort Collins, Colo., is a senior majoring in history and political science. She was elected as a junior to Phi Beta Kappa and, in April, was named a Truman Scholar. Wheeler has researched comparative democratization, post-coup repression and Islamic party politics in Egypt and Islamist political organizations in Morocco.

Wheeler is chair of Stanford in Government, is on the editorial board of Stanford's undergraduate history journal and was a member of the editorial board of the Stanford Daily. She is also a member of Stanford's alpine ski team. Wheeler intends to pursue a master's degree of philosophy in modern Middle Eastern studies at Oxford.

Courtesy of Miles UnterreinerMiles Unterreiner portrait

Miles Unterreiner

Unterreiner is currently working at the think tank The Frontier Group in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was a writer, columnist and managing editor for opinions for the Stanford Daily and won the Robert Novak Collegiate Journalism Award. Unterreiner also competed as a member of the varsity track and field and cross-country teams, and won the award as Stanford's graduating athlete with the highest grade-point average.

Unterreiner also served as president of the Stanford American Civil Liberties Union executive board and on the editorial board of Stanford's undergraduate history journal. His interests are in international human rights, and he plans to pursue a master's of philosophy in international relations at Oxford.

"I am incredibly honored to receive the Rhodes Scholarship from among a field of such extraordinary candidates," Unterreiner said. "I absolutely could not have done it without the support of my professors and teachers, my advisers, my athletic coaches, my friends and family and Stanford University. This award truly belongs to all the people who have guided me and shaped who I am. So what I feel most of all about receiving the Rhodes Scholarship is thankful – for everyone in my life who made it possible."