Campus & Community

Four Seniors Are Off to England as Harvard-Cambridge Scholars

3 min read

It’s not often opportunities like this one come knocking on a dormitory room door. So you can just imagine the reaction when 20 members of the Harvard-Cambridge Scholarships selection committee delivered the good news in person to the four Harvard seniors selected as this year’s recipients.

Geoffrey Fowler, Joshua Goodman, Ilana Kurshan, and Elizabeth Nathan were chosen from a record number of 134 applications, and will receive a full year’s tuition, room-and-board, and additional stipends to study at Cambridge University, England, beginning in the fall.

Robert Shapiro ’72, a former Harvard-Cambridge Scholar who helps oversee the selection process under the auspices of the Harvard Alumni Association, says the scholarships carry on a “long tradition” that began more than 80 years ago, and have evolved into a “great way to strengthen the bonds between the two universities as well as providing an excellent opportunity for four outstanding students.” He describes this year’s winners as representing the “very broad range of talents among the senior class.” All four have varied interests, and are approaching the scholarship in different ways.

Geoffrey Fowler, who is concentrating in anthropology and Afro-American studies at Harvard, calls the scholarship “an ideal opportunity,” and plans to study journalism as the Lt. Charles Henry Fiske, III Scholar at Trinity College. Having worked at the Harvard Crimson, the Bay State Banner, and as an intern with Atlantic Monthly magazine, Fowler would like to use his time at Cambridge University to “explore and answer my questions about being a better journalist.” Someday, Fowler hopes to either write for a magazine, practice law, or pursue a career in academia.

Joshua Goodman plans to study education as the John Eliot Scholar at Jesus College. A physics concentrator at Harvard, Goodman taught calculus as a course assistant in the math department, and is interested in learning about the “relationship between the government and the educational system” in both the United States and Great Britain. Goodman says he’s also anxious to learn more about the United Kingdom since his “main impression of England comes from Monty Python.”

Ilana Kurshan, who spent her childhood “living vicariously” through the works of Wordsworth and Milton and other great British poets, will continue her literary studies as the Lionel de Jersey Harvard Scholar at Emmanuel College. After spending her undergraduate years examining the history of science, Kurshan says she looks forward to using her scholarship to focus exclusively on British romantic poetry. She claims she’s had a “long-distance relationship” with the subject since she was very young, and is “very excited” to finally get the chance to spend an extended period of time in England.

Given her international focus, it seems appropriate that Elizabeth Nathan is going overseas to continue her studies. A physics and astronomy concentrator at Harvard, Nathan aims to earn a master’s degree in international relations, with a focus on “international security and science policy,” as the Harvard-American Friends of Cambridge University Scholar at Pembroke College. She hopes one day to work either in government, public service, or as part of a think tank. Nathan says the scholarship will help her make that choice.

The four Scholars will begin their studies in England in October. Shapiro says the Harvard Alumni Association and the selection committee will track the students through the year, and will help to ensure their experiences at Cambridge are enriching and fulfilling – and live up to the expectations that were forming long before the four Scholars answered that knock on the door.