2 with Md. ties win Rhodes honor

Naval Academy student and Talbot County native will study at Oxford University

November 20, 2006|By Chris Emery | Chris Emery,sun reporter

Two college students with ties to Maryland were among 32 Americans selected to be 2007 Rhodes scholars, it was announced yesterday.

They are Casey N. Cep, a senior at Harvard University who grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore, and Sean A. Genis, a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy who is from Pennsylvania.

Winning the scholarship means both students will spend two or three years studying at Oxford University in England starting in October.

Cep and Genis were selected from among 896 applicants at 340 colleges and universities in the United States.

Cep, 20, graduated from Easton High School and her parents, Bill and Sandy Cep, live in Cordova in Talbot County.

She is studying English and American literature and language at Harvard and is president of the Harvard Advocate literary magazine and an editor of the Harvard Crimson and the Harvard Book Review.

For her senior project, Cep, who enjoys crabbing and fishing, is writing a novel set on the Eastern Shore. "It's about this area and the way people live here," she said in an interview from Cordova yesterday.

She plans to study theology at Oxford. "I hope to understand not only what people believe in, but why they believe in it," she said. "I'll have lots of time to read religious texts from all over the world."

Genis, 21, of Sharon, Pa., is studying at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he is first in his class. He is majoring in physics with a minor in Spanish. He is on the academy's cycling team, sings in the glee club and serves as a regimental commander.

He also does undergraduate research in physics and recently co-authored a paper on the acoustic detection of land mines, which was published in a peer-reviewed engineering journal.

"We're talking about one of these students who's busier than any five normal people and does it gracefully," said Tom Brennan, a professor of history at the Naval Academy. "It's richly deserved. He's a very nice kid."

Genis interviewed for the Rhodes scholarship in Philadelphia and said he was impressed with the caliber of the other applicants.

"I called home and told my mother I didn't know if I was scared or intimidated, but that I was just grateful to be included in that group of people," he said in an interview.

At Oxford, Genis plans to read in philosophy, politics and economics. He hopes to broaden his understanding beyond the sciences, he said.

"I'm very interested in working at the frontier where science and technology meet policy," he said.

He has also been accepted into the Navy's program for training nuclear submarine officers, he said.

The Rhodes scholarship was established at the start of the 20th century and endowed by the will of the British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. Since the first scholars were selected, 3,110 American have won the honor.

The recipients come from all over the world and are elected for a two-year course of study but can apply to extend for a third year. The scholarship's value averages about $45,000 a year.

chris.emery@baltsun.com

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