Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Georgia Tech Student Named One of Twelve Mitchell Scholars

Sarang Shah has been named one of 12 recipients of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship. This is the second consecutive year that a student from the Georgia Institute of Technology has been selected to receive this honor. The Mitchell Scholarships are awarded annually to 12 Americans under the age of 30 to pursue a year of post-graduate study at any university in Ireland.

Finalists for the award were interviewed the weekend of November 22-23 in Washington, D.C. Shah was chosen from a pool of 300 candidates and is among the 10th anniversary class of Mitchell Scholars

“Having the opportunity to study and research theoretical mathematical
physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and University
College Dublin will allow me to further pursue the fundamental
questions underlying how the universe works,” said Shah. “I intend to not only
research theoretical physics academically, but also to learn how to
educate the general public and policymakers about modern ideas and
research in theoretical physics.

Shah continued, “The Mitchell Scholarship is also known for fostering a close-knit community of scholars from a variety of fields of study. Being a member of such a community is a unique opportunity that will allow me to make the personal connections in Ireland and beyond to achieve my goals.”

A native of Acworth, Georgia, Shah is a physics and public policy major. Shah says these two fields fit together well for him.

“I have always been interested in understanding how the universe works, but at the same time I have been deeply concerned with the way society functions,” said Shah. “My sense of civic duty and helping my fellow human beings has led me to become involved in my community, study policy and politics, and also look for ways that my knowledge of physics can help me to understand public policy.”

During his four years at Georgia Tech, Shah has been active in a number of student initiatives geared toward environmental activism and political dialogue, including a campus-wide recycling program, a water conservation campaign and a Yellow Jacket Round Table designed to bring together student leaders to discuss and help resolve campus issues. He has also been a strong advocate in preserving free speech on campus, testifying before the State House Committee on Higher Education and authoring a resolution opposing a bill that would inhibit free speech. Shah is credited for his role in the defeat of the bill.

In addition to Shah’s political advocacy, he has conducted research in the field of theoretical neuroscience and developed textual analysis software to help map data. He will study mathematical physics at University College Dublin.

The Mitchell Scholarship is named for former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who spearheaded the historic Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which produced peace in Northern Ireland. The Mitchell Scholarship recognizes outstanding young Americans who exhibit the highest standards of academic excellence, leadership and community service.

Last year, Adam Tart was named Georgia Tech’s first Mitchell Scholar. He is now working on mobile and ubiquitous computing at University College Cork.

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