Two from Penn Win Marshall, Rhodes Scholarships

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | jposey@pobox.upenn.edu | 215-898-6460November 21, 2005

PHILADELPHIA-- Two University of Pennsylvania students have won two of the country's most prestigious scholarships.

Brett Shaheen, a senior from St. Louis, Mo., has been named a Rhodes Scholar, and Aziza Zakhidova, a senior from McKinney, Texas, has won a Marshall Scholarship.  Only 32 Rhodes Scholarships and 40 Marshall Scholarships are awarded nationally each year.

Shaheen, who majors in international relations and economics in the College of the School of Arts and Sciences, is editor-in-chief of Penn's Undergraduate Journal of Economics.  He worked as a consultant for the Association for Rural Community Development in India last summer.  Shaheen plans to pursue an M. Phil in international relations at Oxford University in England.  He is the 18th Rhodes Scholar from Penn and the University third in the last six years.

Aziza Zakhidova, who majors in international studies and finance, is enrolled in Penn's select Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business, a unique joint-degree program between the College of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School. She wants to pursue an M.Phil in development studies at Oxford. Zakhidova is the eighth Marshall Scholar from Penn and the University fifth in the last six years.

Established in 2000, Penn's Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships assists students in applying for major scholarships such as the Rhodes and the Marshall.  

"Aziza Zakhidova has more poise and presence than any other Penn student I've worked with in the last six years.  Aziza made the most of Penn's Huntsman and University Scholars programs, which together gave her the direction, mentorship and research opportunities she needed to help her win her Marshall," Arthur D. Casciato, director of CURF, said.

"As a musician, athlete, leader and student, Brett Shaheen might be seen as a model candidate for the Rhodes, but I believe it was his bravery that made the difference.  After not being awarded a Truman Scholarship last year, Brett had the courage to try again and, not only that, to learn from his experience in order to do his very best this time," Casciato said.