Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
(This is an expanded version of a story that originally appeared in condensed form in the December 14 issue of Tech Talk due to lack of space).
Three MIT students--the most in many years--have been awarded Marshall scholarships to study in Great Britain next year. They were among 40 selected from a nationwide pool of approximately 900 students recommended by their respective colleges and universities.
Scholarship recipients were Danielle Goodman of Bethesda, MD, a senior in political science; Jeffrey Tomasi of West Haven, CT, a senior in physics; and Lik Mui of San Leandro, CA, a 1994 graduate in electrical engineering who is studying at MIT for his master's degree in engineering.
Ms. Goodman is a pre-medical student who plans to obtain a master's degree in public health at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland before going on to medical school. She eventually hopes to specialize in either pediatrics or obstetrics/gynecology and to practice in a medically underserved area. "Not only would I be a provider, but I would be playing a big role in structuring care for that community," she said last week.
In her coursework, Ms. Goodman read about a boy taken to a hospital with irreparable brain damage suffered in an abusive home. The case led her to ponder the social and legal framework in which the medical profession operates. "As a future physician, the lesson I derived from Joshua's case is the necessity of ensuring that medicine reflects and serves the needs of the people," she wrote in her application for the scholarship.
While at MIT, Ms. Goodman helped form Project America, a national community-service organization. She has also worked as a medical assistant and research assistant at Beth Israel and Georgetown Hospitals, as an intern in the 1992 presidential campaign, and as president of Sigma Kappa sorority.
Mr. Mui is studying medical signal processing as a first-year student in the Harvard/MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. He hopes to earn a master's degree in the engineering, economics and management program at Oxford University with the goal of learning the managerial, economic and social aspects of health science, then to return to the HST program to complete a PhD and an MD. He and some friends started a software company after entering the Sloan School's $10K Competition last year, and that experience convinced him that he needed business training to go with his engineering expertise, he explained in his Marshall application.
Mr. Mui has also taken an active role in the community, working in the Experimental Studies Program as project manager of MESH '94 and director and teacher of SAT Prep. The apathy to educational problems and the health care debate that he has sometimes encountered has motivated him to apply himself to social issues as well as academic endeavors, he wrote.
Hard work has been his guiding principle since emigrating from Hong Kong in 1986. Although he knew no English when he arrived in America, he scored in the 99th percentile on the verbal section of the SAT three years later. Of a family friend who became ill and could not pay her medical bills, he wrote, "I am shocked that hard work for our friends is not helping them out of a situation many Americans have to face. Our health care system is simply not working for many Americans."
In addition to working in the Laboratory for Nuclear Science on experimental particle physics, Mr. Tomasi is minoring in philosophy and has been heavily involved in rowing, two things he hopes to pursue at Cambridge University. He is a member of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society, and plans a research career in high-energy physics.
At Cambridge, Mr. Tomasi-who is varsity captain of MIT's crew team and commodore of the MIT Boat Club-hopes to participate in the University Boat Race, the oldest sporting event in Britain. "Crew, like physics, demands a collaborative effort," he noted in his scholarship application. He is also interested in creative writing and has been teaching himself to play the piano.
Mr. Tomasi, who worked on detector designs for the superconducting supercollider until the project was canceled by Congress, looks forward to working with physicists from all over the world while studying in England. "The end of the Cold War opened up entire nations to scientific exchange, and at the same time, it has brought about drastic cuts in government expenditures on scientific research," he wrote. "Clearly, the future of physics is in international efforts."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 11, 1995.