Virginia Tech recommends candidates for Rhodes and Marshall scholarships
November 18, 2014
Virginia Tech has recommended three candidates for the Rhodes Scholarship and three candidates for the Marshall Scholarship.
The prestigious national scholarships provide coverage for graduate study in the United Kingdom. Marshall Scholarships allot approximately $40,000 per year (tuition, fees, room and board, transportation, and books) to 40 seniors for two years of graduate study at any university in the United Kingdom. Rhodes Scholarships provide support for tuition, fees, room, board, transportation, and books to 32 seniors for two years of graduate study at Oxford University.
For the Rhodes Scholarship, the university recommended Christian Beyer of New Bern, North Carolina, a senior majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Science; David Mackanic of Cary, North Carolina, a senior double majoring in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering and chemistry in the College of Science; and Wes Williams of Roanoke, Virginia, a senior double majoring in applied economic management in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
Mackanic and Williams also earned university endorsement for the Marshall Scholarship in addition to Tyler Weiglein of Mechanicsville, Virginia, a senior majoring in civil engineering in the College of Engineering.
“The committees for both of these prestigious scholarships are looking for individuals who will be leaders in their field and agents of change,” said Christina McIntyre, interim director of the University Honors program who helped coordinate and advise the scholarship applications. “These students went through a rigorous selection process on campus and we are confident they are competitive with candidates from other universities.”
The Virginia Tech selection committee for both the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships included:
- Timothy D. Sands, president;
- Joseph Pitt, professor of philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and chair of the committee;
- Rachel Holloway, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs;
- Mark Embree, professor of mathematics in the College of Science and 1996 winner of the Rhodes Scholarship; and
- Christina McIntyre, interim director of University Honors.
Students who are interested in either scholarship or faculty who would like to recommend a student are encouraged to reach out to Christina McIntyre by early in the spring semester of the student’s junior year. Students cannot apply to the scholarships directly, but must gain the university’s endorsement through a campus application and interview process.
Beyer is a student-athlete, achieving academic success while participating as a scholarship basketball player for the university. He plans to pursue medical school after graduation.
Through a service learning study abroad course for student-athletes, Beyer traveled to the Philippines to teach adolescents about sex education. It sparked a passion for youth assistance programs. Beyer hopes to combine his medical interest in orthopedics to one day organize inner city clinics for under-privileged youth suffering from sports injuries.
Mackanic is a 2014 Goldwater Scholar and University Honors student. Beyond regular coursework for his double majors, Mackanic has been deeply involved in undergraduate research. At Virginia Tech, he has done research with the student outreach group, Bridges to Prosperity, while also working with Virginia Tech faculty members Michael Ellis, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Robert Moore, professor of chemistry, on investigating novel materials for lithium air batteries.
In addition, Mackanic has traveled every summer to participate in research through Research Experiences for Undergraduates programs, working at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland in 2014, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China, in 2012.
Mackanic is also a resident advisor in the Honors Residential College.
Weiglein, a University Honors student, has a passion for the environment that is seen in his academic and research pursuits as well as his day-to-day life. Over the summer, Weiglein conducted hydrology research at the University of Freiburg in Freiburg, Germany as a DAAD RISE scholar (German Academic Exchange Service Research Internships in Science and Engineering). The summer after his sophomore year, Weiglein began working in the Hydroecology Laboratory at Virginia Tech as part of a National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and continues to work there under Durelle Scott, associate professor of biological systems engineering, conducting research related to the impacts of climate change.
Beyond research, Weiglein extends his interest in natural habitats by taking part in hikes or river cleanups with other students. In summer 2013, he participated in a Partners in the Park program at Olympic National Park, prompting an interest in research within national parks. He is also certified as a Wilderness First Responder.
Williams, a University Honors student, has shaped his studies and personal pursuits around the eradication of human trafficking. He helped lead the creation of AboliShop, a Web browser extension that allows online consumers to check their cart to identify products that likely used forced or exploitative labor in their manufacturing or distribution. He is also team lead for Tiplabs, which coordinates development of mobile applications for anti-trafficking hotlines in South Africa.
His passion helped shaped his academic pursuits, designing a unique program of study combining majors in applied economic management and English to focus on narrative justice, where he hopes to develop techniques to tell the stories of the poor and disadvantaged in compelling ways.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.
Candidates for the Rhodes and Marshall
From left to right: Christian Beyer, David Mackanic, Tyler Weiglein, and Wes Williams.