Thee Harvard Physics Seniors, all women, were awarded 2022 Rhodes scholarships: Maya Burhanpurkar, Elizabeth Guo, and Samantha O’Sullivan.
Maya Burhanpurkar majors in Physics and was inducted into the national Phi Beta Kappa honour society. Her academic interests include algorithmic fairness, data privacy, and machine learning. Her recent work spans biologically-inspired techniques for enhancing neural network adversarial robustness, statistical methods for detecting topological phase transitions in materials, and deep convolutional neural networks for understanding dark matter. She has several publications in machine learning, self-driving software, and cosmology including two papers in Nature. She was the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal, Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 award, the MIT-Lemelson Prize, the Harvard i3 Innovation Challenge Gold Prize, and the John Harvard scholarship. She has produced a climate change documentary with Margaret Atwood and Chris Hadfield and was President of the Harvard Society of Physics Students. At Oxford, she intends to study the intersection of machine learning, physics, and philosophy and pursue an MSc in Advanced Computer Science and MSt in Philosophy of Physics.
Elizabeth Guo is a senior at Harvard College, where she majors in Physics. Elizabeth’s undergraduate research explores the intersection of science and the law. As an intern at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Elizabeth’s work helped inform the incoming president’s Strategic Plan. She currently serves as a News Executive of The Harvard Crimson and is a member of the Harvard College Honor Council. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. While at Oxford, she plans to pursue an MSc in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics, and an MSc in Social Science of the Internet.
Samantha C.W. O’Sullivan majors in Physics and African-American Studies. Sam founded and led a student organization that promotes activism related to the legacy of slavery and has published articles on dress codes and bias against Black girls. She has done advanced research in plasma physics at Princeton and nanoscale systems at Harvard and the University of Maryland, and astrophysics at the Carnegie Institute of Astrophysics. She is fascinated by how different languages, including the language of the African diaspora, Gullah, provide insights into different perceptions of the physical universe. Sam will pursue an MSt in Philosophy of Physics and the MSc in Applied Linguistics at Oxford.