Poet, mathematician, soldier, kids among Rhodes Scholars

Monday, December 10, 2001

Zac Miller already knows what he'll do with his experience as a Rhodes Scholar -- whatever the Army tells him.

The 21-year-old graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point said if he hadn't received the scholarship to Oxford University in England, he would have gone to Italy with a quick-reaction force.

"One of the unfortunate things ... is you don't get to choose, you go to the needs of the Army," said Miller, from Stonesboro, Pa.

On Sunday, Miller was one of 32 American students selected to receive the prestigious scholarships. Others included a mathematician, an aspiring poet-neuroscientist, and a skydiving refugee worker from rural Iowa.

The Rhodes scholarship, created in 1902 from the will of British philanthropist and colonialist Cecil Rhodes, is the oldest international study award available to American scholars.

Winners this year were chosen from 925 applicants endorsed by 319 colleges and universities; Harvard University led with five recipients.

They are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among other attributes.

Miller, one of three chosen from West Point, said he is looking forward to a a two-year break from military life and will study politics, philosophy and economics. He will also use 28 weeks of leave from studies to travel through Africa and Asia.

Three Duke University students made the cut, including Samuel Malone, 21, of Zebulon, N.C., who wants to study ways to manage global financial markets by using his mathematical skills.

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