This year, UMBC student and Mt. Hebron alumnus, Naomi Mburu, was recognized as UMBC’s first student to receive a Rhodes Scholarship.
The Rhodes Scholarship is a fellowship award that allows 33 American students each year to pursue graduate studies on their own. Over 320 American colleges have had students receive this honor, and now UMBC has joined them.
A senior at UMBC, Mburu studies Chemical Engineering and will be completing her Ph.D. in Engineering Science.
When asked by UMBC News about her scholarship, Mburu said, “I believe the Rhodes Scholarship will allow me to foster a stronger community amongst my fellow scholars because we will all be attending the same institution.”
She will be attending the University of Oxford in England to pursue her studies.
Mburu’s research focuses on how a protein called L-4 in ribosomes is affected by the introduction of phosphate. She is now working on biofuel cells that are self-powered, that can sense glucose and lactic acid concentrations in the body. According to her biography on UMBC’s website, she has presented her research in Washington, D.C at a technology conference. She also spent the summer of 2016 abroad in Switzerland, where she attempted to measure impurities in the Large Hadron Collider along with other scientists.
One of the last Rhodes Scholars to come from a Maryland college was Cameron Clarke, who won the scholarship last year. He pursued two majors — one in community health education and one in biology. In the four years he spent at Howard University, he worked very hard with the community to become a leader of peers.
Mburu’s Mt. Hebron English teacher, Ms. Lisa Vitali, said, “Naomi was a fantastic student. She was one of the best in her class, and one of the best students I’ve ever taught. Naomi is one of the hardest workers that I’ve had the pleasure of teaching, so I’m not surprised she was awarded the scholarship.”
Ms. Vitali’s last comments are echoed by the students and staff at Mt. Hebron.
“I wish her all the luck in the world because she is a wonderful young lady, and she is going to do amazing things,” Ms. Vitali said.