Students earn scholarships to pursue advanced degrees at Oxford

By Eric Quiñones

Princeton NJ -- A second Princeton student has won a 2004 Rhodes Scholarship, and two others have been named recipients of 2004 Marshall Scholarships.

Willow Sainsbury, a senior from Auckland, New Zealand, has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. In November, David Robinson, a philosophy major from Potomac, Md., was announced as one of 32 American winners. Sainsbury is the first Princeton student from New Zealand to win a Rhodes.

Maia Schweizer, a senior geosciences major exploring the possible existence of life beyond Earth, and Daniel Pastor, a 2003 politics graduate now in Chile examining the legacies of the Pinochet dictatorship, have won the Marshalls. Schweizer will use her award to obtain a master's degree in earth sciences at Oxford, while Pastor will pursue a master's in political theory at Oxford.

Willow Sainsbury

Willow Sainsbury

Rhodes scholar

Sainsbury, a painter, is an art history major and a candidate for certificates in visual arts and European cultural studies. She will pursue a master's degree in material anthropology and museum ethnography at Oxford.

Sainsbury will continue her studies of the papers of Maori scholar Makereti Papukura. She began the project while at Oxford on a Martin Dale '53 Summer Fellowship from Princeton following her sophomore year. She discovered the papers in the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford while cataloging artifacts of New Zealand's Maori people in research centers around England.

"People knew about these papers vaguely but no work has been done on them yet," Sainsbury said, noting that Papukura died three weeks before handing in her dissertation at Oxford. "These 12 boxes represent her personal writing, family trees and a collection of her manuscripts, which I fell in love with on the Martin Dale research project."

Eve Aschheim, director of Princeton's Program in Visual Arts, called Sainsbury "a deeply motivated student" and a passionate and resourceful painter whose landscape work often evokes the vistas of her native New Zealand.

"She is driven to explore ideas in multiple directions simultaneously, which allows her to generate lots of interesting work and to make unusual leaps in her work," said Aschheim, who has served as a faculty adviser for Sainsbury. "Her paintings in one year ranged from highly representational landscapes to pure abstractions, and many things in between. When her paintings are not working, she goes at them again with another approach."

Marshall scholars

Schweizer, who is from Pasadena, Calif., has traveled to Germany, Norway, Mexico, Canada and around the United States to study fossils, rare bacteria and other evidence of the origins of life on Earth. At Oxford, she will work with Professor Martin Brasier, an earth scientist well known for his research on early life forms.

Maia Schweizer

Maia Schweizer


"I believe that a thorough understanding of life on our own planet lays the foundation for turning our gaze outward, to Mars and beyond," Schweizer said. "Working with Professor Brasier, I will have access to the cutting-edge tools that are revolutionizing the field and guidance in using them."

Schweizer, also a candidate for a certificate in visual arts, is a painter, singer, dancer and an athlete. She has served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Geosciences and won the department's Benjamin Howell '13 Junior Prize for excellence in research.

"Maia Schweizer is one of the brightest and most independent-minded undergraduate scholars I have encountered in my 35 years teaching at Princeton," said Lincoln Hollister, a professor of geosciences.

Pastor, who is from Dallas, is currently in Chile on a Martin Dale '53 Fellowship, which he received last spring. He also won a Truman Scholarship.

Pastor plans to pursue a public service career focused on foreign policy and international relations. His current research in Chile examines the long-term political consequences of the constitution imposed by the Pinochet dictatorship. "It is a historical study of how democracy can be undermined and perverted," he said.

Daniel Pastor

Daniel Pastor

At Oxford, Pastor will concentrate on ethics and political philosophy. "I am especially interested in the role ideas and ideology play in shaping political outcomes," he noted. Pastor will work with Alan Ryan, a former Princeton politics professor and current head of the New College at Oxford, who is noted for his scholarship on liberalism and John Dewey.

Pastor also earned a certificate in Latin American studies at Princeton, and has studied in Spain and Germany. He founded Princeton in Latin America, a postgraduate program that offers yearlong fellowships with public service, humanitarian and governmental organizations in the region. He also served as a research assistant to Princeton President Emeritus Harold T. Shapiro and was an intern with President Bill Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Commission.

Professor of Religion Jeffrey Stout, who taught Pastor in a seminar on religion and ethical theory, called him a "remarkably learned, conversable" student. "He often speaks with the wisdom and understanding of someone who is already beyond graduate school," Stout said.


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