Four from Brown receive 2012 Rhodes Scholarships

November 21, 2011  |  By Courtney Coelho |  401-863-7287
Four members of the Brown community — three current students and one recent graduate — were named recipients of Rhodes Scholarships for the 2012 academic year. Brianna Doherty ’12, Nabeel Gillani ’12, David Poritz ’12, and Emma LeBlanc ’11 were among 32 recipients nationwide, chosen from a pool of 830 candidates.

Three students and one alumna were awarded Rhodes Scholarships for the 2012 academic year, both a record high number of recipients for the University and the first multischolar year since 1970. Brianna Doherty ’12, Nabeel Gillani ’12, David Poritz ’12 and Emma LeBlanc ’11 were named recipients of the prestigious scholarship.

The 32 nationwide recipients, announced Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, were chosen from a pool of 830 candidates who had been nominated by their colleges and universities. The Rhodes Trust, a British charity established to honor the will and bequest of Cecil J. Rhodes, provides full financial support for Rhodes scholars to pursue a degree or degrees at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The first American Rhodes scholars entered Oxford in 1904.

Brianna Doherty is a senior majoring in cognitive neuroscience with a focus on how autism spectrum disorders affect the ability of children to feel empathy for others. She is a peer advisor and a leader of the Brown Outdoor Leadership Training program and a certified wilderness first responder. Doherty will pursue a master’s degree in experimental psychology at Oxford.

Nabeel Gillani is a senior majoring in applied mathematics and computer science. He has worked as a Microsoft project manager and is working now at Brown’s optimization lab on electricity restoration for disaster relief. He founded a Providence-based microfinance organization as well as an outreach program in the Providence public schools to help students learn math. At Oxford he plans to pursue a dual master’s degree in computer science and education.

David Poritz is a senior majoring in anthropology and Latin American and Caribbean studies. A Truman scholar, Poritz started and maintains two organizations focused on the environmental effects of the oil industry on the lives of people in the Amazon. At Oxford, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in Latin American studies.

Emma LeBlanc graduated from Brown in June with a degree in sociology. She is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in fiction at Southern New Hampshire University, where she is writing a novel. She now lives near Damascus, Syria, researching the area’s marginalized Bedouin community. LeBlanc will pursue a doctorate in social and cultural anthropology at Oxford.