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Duke senior becomes University's 50th Rhodes Scholar

<p>Gabriella Deich, Duke's 50th Rhodes Scholar.</p>

Gabriella Deich, Duke's 50th Rhodes Scholar.

Senior Gabriella Deich has been named a Rhodes Scholar, the University announced Sunday.

Deich becomes the 50th Duke student to win the prestigious scholarship, which pays for the opportunity to study at Oxford University. The Angier B. Duke scholar was one of only 32 recipients out of 963 applicants.

"I didn’t know what to think—everything felt like it was moving in slow motion!" she wrote in an email to The Chronicle Sunday night. "It still doesn’t feel like it was real. I remember also being excited to get to tell the friends and faculty who have been so kind in helping me throughout my whole undergraduate career."   

Deich is a Program II major studying biological and artificial intelligence. She co-founded the Arete Fellowship at Duke, and she has been involved with the Duke Effective Altruism and One for the World organizations, according to the release. 

Beyond that, Deich does research at Harvard Medical School, where she studies how to improve rapid diagnostics of infectious diseases. She has also worked as a summer research scholar and Lord Rothermere scholar in science ethics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oxford, respectively.

"The Rhodes has said many times they are looking for people and not CVs," she wrote. "I have had an interesting and obstacle filled path that has given me a different story/perspective." 

At Oxford, she plans on studying computer science and global governance. She hopes to work in biosecurity and global catastrophic risk reduction during her career, according to the release.  

Deich explained that she left the education system when she was 12 and was self-taught until she enrolled at Duke when she was 18.

"I have so much more to learn! I’m incredibly excited to experience Oxford and meet all of the scholars who have been selected this year," she wrote.

Kushal Kadakia, Ariel Kantor and Claire Wang, all Trinity '19, received the Rhodes Scholarship last year. In 2017, Gabrielle Stewart, Trinity '18, won the scholarship.

“We are so very proud that Elle has been named a Rhodes Scholar,” President Vincent Price said. “This historic honor recognizes both her extraordinary work as an undergraduate and her promise for an equally extraordinary career to come."

Editor's Note: This article was updated to include more information about Deich and about previous winners.

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