Three MIT-appointed 2023 Rhodes Scholars | MIT News

Jack Cook, Matthew Kearney and Jupneet Singh have been selected for the 2023 cohort of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship Program. They will begin a fully funded postgraduate course at Oxford University in the UK next autumn. Each year, Rhodes awards 32 scholarships to US citizens, as well as additional scholarships to non-US citizens.

Students received career guidance and professional development support from Associate Dean Kim Benard and the Distinguished Fellowships team, and received additional mentorship from the Presidential Committee on Distinguished Fellowships.

“Our students have worked incredibly hard throughout this process,” says Professor Tamar Schapiro, who co-chairs the committee with Professor Will Broadhead. “They were challenged to think deeply about what they want to do and who they want to be. They have learned to communicate their values ​​and goals effectively. And they have developed confidence to present themselves to others. We are delighted that so many of them were recognized as finalists and winners this year.”

Jack Cook ’22

Jack Cook is a MEng student from New York City who recently graduated with a degree in Computer Science with a major in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. At Oxford he is planning an MSc in Social Sciences of the Internet and an MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Assessment. In the future, he plans to use his technical skills to solve misinformation problems.

As an undergraduate at MIT, Jack was the lead author of There’s Always a Bigger Fish, a research paper from Mengjia Yan’s lab that shows how machine learning can be weaponized to extract sensitive information from applications like a web browser. His work on this project earned him MIT’s 2022 Robert M. Fano UROP Award. For his master’s thesis, Jack is collaborating with Lahey Hospital to set up a digital cognitive assessment to diagnose patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

Jack also leads natural language processing initiatives at The New York Times R&D, where he developed a system that answers readers’ questions about breaking news in real time. As a high school student, he was part of the founding team of Mixer, a startup focused on low-latency live streaming that was acquired by Microsoft in 2016.

Jack was also the director of HackMIT, MIT’s premier annual hackathon with 1,000 attendees, for two years. For HackMIT’s first virtual event in September 2020, he led the development of a 3D virtual platform where hackers could “walk around” and interact with each other while participating remotely.

Matthew Kearney

Matt Kearney, from Austin, Texas, majored in both Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Philosophy. At Oxford he will pursue a DPhil in Computer Science and a DPhil in Philosophy. His goal is to redesign AI technologies and practices to both address their harms and reinvent them as tools for solutions to pressing societal problems such as climate change and economic inequality.

At MIT, Kearney conducted research with the Quanta Research Group on theoretical quantum computing, computer vision for 3D scene understanding with the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), probabilistic climate downscaling with the Human Systems Lab, and explainability methods for natural language models with CSAIL. He also did internships at Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle company, and Google X, Google’s moonshot factory.

Kearney ran on the MIT Cross Country and Track and Field teams and served as a captain for three years. He also co-founded a project in 2020 that aims to focus individual efforts on the most effective solutions to climate change. He and his co-founder have been awarded the PKG grant and the IDEAS grant to support this work. He was also selected as an MIT Burchard Scholar as part of his liberal arts studies.

In his spare time, Kearney loves impromptu singing, cooking big meals and absolutely everything in the great outdoors.

Jupneet Singh

Jupneet Singh is a senior from Somis, California, with a major in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in History. As a Rhodes Fellow at Oxford, she intends to study for an MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Assessment. After Rhodes, she plans to attend medical school and then pursue her training as an active-duty Air Force Captain.

Singh’s career aspirations include serving as a trauma surgeon in the Air Force and then enlisting in the United States Public Health Commissioned Corps to advocate for minority representation and culturally appropriate public health practices. She currently holds leadership positions at Air Force ROTC, MIT Mock Trial, and Project Sunshine MIT, and is also involved with the PKG Center. She researches fatty liver disease at the Shalek lab and has also worked on natural product research at the Nolan lab.

Last summer, Singh worked in rehab in India and had an abstract that was accepted at the American College of Surgeons’ Southern California conference. She has worked in California at Ventura County Family Justice Center and Ventura County Medical Center Trauma Center and is a first author published in The American Surgeon. Singh founded a program, Pathways to Promise, to support the health of children in Ventura affected by domestic violence and has received four grants.


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