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Photo courtesy of the Office of Communications.


Samvida Sudheesh Venkatesh ’19 was one of five recipients from India awarded a 2019 Rhodes Scholarship to pursue graduate studies at the University of Oxford, according to a University statement.

Venkatesh is a senior science writer for The Daily Princetonian.

Students are chosen for this prestigious fellowship through a combination of outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated commitment to service and leadership.

With the scholarship, Venkatesh plans to pursue a M.Sc. by Research in Biochemistry.

Hailing from Bangalore, India, Venkatesh is concentrating in molecular biology and pursuing certificates in computer science and quantitative and computational biology. 

At Oxford, she plans to continue her research in cancer genomics, which she began during an internship in the summer of 2017 in the laboratory of Ahmed Ahmed, professor of gynecological oncology at the Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health. She also hopes to further explore the nexus of computation and biology.

“I have worked on projects such as tracking the growth of fly embryos, enumerating the differences between cancerous and non-cancerous cells, and creating visualizations of viral infection,” Venkatesh said in the statement. “The Rhodes Scholarship will allow me to explore genomics in depth in Professor Ahmed’s lab, while simultaneously reinforcing my broader scientific presentation and general reasoning skills through a master’s degree.”

Venkatesh’s research experience has taken her from the lab of University molecular biology professor Ileana Cristea to the International Genetically Engineered Machine synthetic biology competition to the Mount Sinai Undergraduate Research Symposium. She has already co-authored several papers that are under review for publication in scientific journals.

In 2016, Venkatesh won the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence. A particular interest in science education and writing has led her to become a head peer tutor at the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning and an author of STEM-centered children’s books. 

She currently serves as a residential college advisor at Forbes Residential College, the treasurer of the 2 Dickinson St. co-op, and a summer tour guide for the Office of Admission. She has also served as a student leader for the Davis International Center and president of the club badminton team.

 Other Rhodes Scholars for 2019, such as U.S. citizens, have yet to be announced.

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