(l to r) Garrett Lam, Venki Murthy and Grace Huckins
Five Harvard undergraduates will begin courses at the University of Oxford next year under the ultra competitive Rhodes Scholarship, including two students from the Neurobiology concentration. Grace Huckins from the Murthy Lab and Garrett Lam from the Kreiman lab will join a select group of international students in the United Kingdom for postgraduate work.
“Even a week later I’m still in somewhat of a stage of disbelief,” Lam said. “The other candidates were insanely accomplished and somehow Grace and I were the lucky ones.”
Lam’s interest in neuroscience began with his interest in human consciousness, especially regarding ethics.
“My main interest is bridging neuroscience and philosophy with the law. Right now I see many disparities between the way we set up our criminal justice system, and both the empirical findings of neuroscience and the conceptual insights of philosophy. At Oxford I want to keep pressing the relevance of neuroscience and philosophy to the law before I take up a legal career trying to bring about those unrealized implications,” he said.
Huckins’ interests in high school were torn between science and literature. Although she settled on science in the end, she chose Harvard in order to have equal access to stellar humanities options.
“I feel absolutely astonished to have won the Rhodes,” Huckins said. “I was not at all expecting to hear my name called, and even after a week the entire experience still feels surreal. Simultaneously, I am perhaps more encouraged than I have ever been to pursue my scientific ambitions.”
“On the most general level, I want to make progress in our current understanding of the human brain. Specifically, I am interested in looking at the brain through a computational lens and using theoretical analysis to elucidate the principles that govern the brain’s phenomena. At Oxford, I plan to obtain my Ph.D. in neuroscience, and I ultimately aspire to a career in academic research,” she said.
Venkatesh Murthy, neurobiology Head Tutor, calls both Lam and Huckins exceptional students.
“They have pushed themselves academically, since they are both dual concentrators – Garrett in Neurobiology and Philosophy, and Grace in Neurobiology and Physics,” Murthy said. “I am particularly thrilled by the fact that these amazing students are interested in neurobiology not simply as a path for entering medical school, but because they are fascinated by the brain and mind!”
Read more in Harvard Gazette