- Associated Press - Sunday, November 23, 2014

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A suburban St. Louis woman studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named Sunday as one of 32 U.S. Rhodes Scholars.

The prestigious award won by Anisha Gururaj, of Chesterfield, provides her with a scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. The winners were selected from 857 applicants endorsed by 327 different colleges and universities.

Gururaj will use her scholarship to study biomedical engineering and public policy at Oxford. The MIT senior wants to develop affordable biomedical devices for the U.S. and developing world.

The Rhodes Trust said in a news release that Gururaj and fellow students designed and patented a low-cost blood warmer that could keep soldiers from dying on the battlefield of hypothermia. She also wrote about the experience of trauma surgeons after the Boston Marathon bombings.

For the past two years, Gururaj has conducted research on individualized medical devices that users can assemble themselves at MIT’s Little Devices Lab. Last summer, she went to Chile to investigate how diagnostic kits created by the lab can be used in rural settings, MIT said in a news release.

MIT said Gururaj also collaborated with Maiti Nepal, an organization that assists sex-trafficking victims, to expand Nepali girls’ access to K-12 education.

“Anisha Gururaj is an inspiration,” Rebecca Saxe, an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience and co-chair of MIT’s Presidential Committee on Distinguished Scholarships, said in a written statement. “Her accomplishments are pretty remarkable, but what stands out most is how deeply she is committed to translating her knowledge and expertise into practical products and benefits that will make life better for people - whether those people are soldiers on the battlefield, young at-risk women in Nepal, or people living in rural villages with less access to modern health care.”

Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes and have a value of about $50,000 per year. Winners are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among other attributes.

The American students will join an international group of scholars selected from 14 other jurisdictions around the world. Approximately 80 scholars are selected annually.

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