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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Engineer, Blogger… Rhodes Scholar (!) by Matt McGann '00

Melis wins the Rhodes Scholarship!

On Saturday, the Rhodes Trust announced the 32 Americans who have won the 2008 Rhodes Scholarships. The Rhodes Scholarship, described as “the oldest and best known award for international study,” includes among its winners political figures like Bill Clinton, George Stephanopoulos and David Souter; scientists like Edwin Hubble, Robert J. van de Graaff and Brian Greene; and journalists like Nicholas Kristof, Michael Kinsley and Walter Isaacson.

Add to that list Melis Anahtar, MIT senior, Mechanical Engineering major, and MIT Admissions blogger.

Her “official” Rhodes Scholar biography reads:

Melis N. Anahtar, Bethesda, is a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she majors in mechanical engineering and minors in biomedical engineering. A former finalist in the Intel Talent Search, she has a perfect academic record at M.I.T. She has done research in immunology and has worked at the NIST, and at the NIH human genome research institute. Her senior thesis is in the use of micro-electro-mechanical devises in tissue engineering. She also is editor-in-chief of the M.I.T. Undergraduate Research Journal and was a finalist in Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 College Women Competition. At Oxford, Melis will do the M.Sc. in integrated immunology.

Melis is (according to this list) the 38th MIT student to win the Rhodes.

Sunday morning, The Washington Post led with her story in their coverage of the Rhodes announcement:

It occurred to Melis N. Anahtar’s family that she might have a future in science when she began building robots and little toy cars, using plain blocks and then invention kits.

She was in second grade.

On Saturday, Anahtar’s scientific bent paid off when she was among 32 college students from across the country, including six with ties to the Washington area, who were selected as Rhodes scholars and will spend two or three years of graduate study at Oxford University in England.

“I’m tremendously excited,” Anahtar, 21, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology senior from Bethesda, said yesterday. She has a perfect academic record at MIT — A’s in all her courses, including linguistics and fiction reading — and plans to study immunology. Of course, she’s practically an expert already, having worked in six laboratories and designed a device that isolates white blood cells to better understand how the human body reacts to injury.

Want to learn more about Melis? Check out her blog. As soon as she recovers from all the excitement, she’ll be posting about the experience! (In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment for Melis in the comments here)

63 responses to “Engineer, Blogger… Rhodes Scholar (!)”

  1. ^-^ says:

    congratulations Melis! celebrate like crazy!

  2. Jess says:


  3. JH says:

    Why’s there someone who’s so perfect? haha

  4. Snively says:

    Perfect Academic Record?!

    That deserves more kudos than the world has to give, absolutely incredible! You deserve it Melis!

  5. Paul says:

    Honestly, I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more. Go MIT, and go Melis!

  6. Kevin X says:

    Wow congrats there. Everyone deserves to have there efforts rewarded and hers have been awarded big-time!

  7. Kelly says:

    Congratulations, that is so marvelous!

  8. Fred says:

    Congrats, Melis!

    Just for my curiosity: major in mechanical engineering at MIT but will do the M.Sc. in integrated immunology at Oxford? What is the link between mechanical engineering and integrated immunology ?

  9. Anonymous says:

    WOW! That is an amazing accomplishment! Congrats!

  10. Deusse says:

    Wooooooooooow!!!!!My favurite blogger!Pure GENIUS!!!
    Big up Melis!!!!

  11. Shamarah says:

    Again, wonderful job, Melis. Talk about a role model for little female science nerds everywhere! :]

  12. Andrew says:

    What a baller. Everything in that bio is straight up amazing within itself.

  13. Edgar says:

    I second JH question!

  14. Eoin says:

    I like Melis.

  15. Phil says:

    OMG!!!! Way cool.

  16. Neal Jarvis says:


    When we are asked who from Youth Leaders International has proven to become a leader you are one at the top of the list. Congratulations! Neal

  17. Anonymous says:

    Obviously, this is an amazing accomplishment. But the Rhodes Scholarship pales in comparison to STRAIGHT A’s AT MIT?!?!!!

    I bow down to God.

  18. derrick says:

    Congratulations Melis! I’m very happy for you (and quite impressed too).

  19. nishanth says:

    melis is truly an inspiration

  20. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Melis!!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Damn!!!! WOW!!!!Unbeleivable!!!!

    Congrats Melis


  22. Masud says:

    Wow!Amazingness! God really does give some people more intelligence and intuition than others! Congrats Melis!

  23. KelseyK says:

    Yea Melis! Congratulations and good job!

  24. Anonymus says:

    Wow, my salutations. And I’m surprised that I’m not the only one surprised at the perfect academic record wink

  25. anonymous says:

    Once again, Blair grads ROCK!!! Congrats!

  26. matthew says:

    Hi, I’m in 5th grade and 10 years old. It is my life’s dream to go to MIT and become an electrical engineer with my best friend. We Take apart RC cars and robots and make new things with the parts. I want to start planning ahead to get ready to go to MIT. Do you have any advice for me? What books should I read, what grades do I need?


  27. Phillip Z says:

    Congratulations! Wonderful!

  28. Rahul Jain says:

    Well done, keep up the good work…

  29. Hunter '11 says:

    Matthew – You’re on the right track. Innovation, creativity, urge to do things like take apart cars and build stuff – that’s all great. Keep doing that. As for grades, work hard to get good grades but don’t turn your life into that. Take the classes that interest you, not just ones that you think will look best. See what opportunities are around you and take advantage of them. You’ll do fine =)

  30. I am in Love
    the name is an achievment by itself
    Melis N. Anahtar
    straight MIT record is amazing
    and to be 38th in somthing somthing Rhodes somthing is mathematically perfect

    happy life continuum

  31. Hunter '11 says:

    Rhodes Scholar AND perfect MIT record? I’m not sure which is more impressive wink Congrats, Melis!

  32. Lauren says:

    All A’s at MIT! Rhodes Scholar! Super cool research! That is so inspiring, really, congrats!!! I hope some day I can hope to attain some percentage of that awesomeness grin. Melis will have to share her secrets, hehe.

    Is it possible to get all A’s in any major? I mean, for example, has anyone ever done it in math *All A’s at MIT! Rhodes Scholar! Super cool research! That is so inspiring, really, congrats!!! I hope some day I can hope to attain some percentage of that awesomeness grin. Melis will have to share her secrets, hehe.

    Is it possible to get all A’s in any major? I mean, for example, has anyone ever done it in math *<3*? Not to say that any major is more difficult than any other, obviously bio stuff is crazy insanely difficult, just that different courses might be graded differently or whatever. All A’s at MIT must be really rare. Haha, I’d be interested in knowing how often this happens.

    Anyway, congrats, Melis. I am sure that took a lot of hard work; your accomplishments are really amazing.

  33. Lauren says:

    Oh darn a paragraph of what I wrote got cut off. Oops. I said

    “I mean, has anyone ever done it in math? Not to say that any course is more difficult than another, obviously bio stuff must be crazy insanely difficult, just that they might be graded differently or whatever. Haha, all As at MIT must be really rare. I’d be interested in knowing how often that happens.”

  34. Ginger says:

    Wow, that is really awesome. Congrats Melis!

  35. Ben P. says:

    Congrats Melis! That’s awesome!

  36. Wow, congratulations! Very inspiring.

  37. Chris T. says:


    Excellent Tribute!


    Congrats! Your an inspiration to everyone!

  38. Oasis says:

    I read about it in the Tech and I was like WOWW!!

    I’m awed.

  39. Sanja says:

    Yaaaay for Melis :D

    I’m sorry for asking admission related questions… but… smile
    I will get my recommendations in sealed envelopes. Is there any problem if I put those envelopes with fee waiver request in one big envelope and send them altogether? Since I am international applicant, chances for losing envelopes are huge, so I guess it is better to send all at once than in pieces.

  40. Jing Jing says:

    She is just simply amazing….!
    Congrats!!! =)

  41. Fred says:

    Just a quick answer to Sanja’s question: I don’t know why you are saying that “chances for losing envelopes are huge”? I don’t believe it is true. Think about this- if it is true, you still have a chance in “losing” this one big envelope. Right?

    So, don’t worry about it. Just send all the required application materials when available.

  42. Sanja says:

    Well you are right… anyway, it’s easier for both me and my school so I hope that won’t be a problem smile

  43. Anonymous says:

    SOMEONE AS SMART AS MELIS SHOULD NOT BE THAT GOOD-LOOKING AS WELL! Hehe, just joking. Still, it’s really impressive. Straight A’s in MIT? Even Rhodes Scholarship almost pales in comparison.

  44. Oh, I forgot to say…CONGRATULATIONS!

  45. Paul '11 says:

    @ Sanja: You should be fine. As long as the individual recommendation envelopes are also sealed (to ensure their integrity), I doubt there will be any problems. All envelopes get opened and inspected by the same people anyway, no matter how big (or small) they are. wink

    And remember, once you’ve sent in your materials, you can always check the Application Tracking on MyMIT in case you’re worried that anything’s missing.

  46. Angus Burton says:

    Congrats. Live it up smile

  47. Anonymus says:

    “As long as the individual recommendation envelopes are also sealed (to ensure their integrity), I doubt there will be any problems.”

    Hmm… my recommendations were just filled up by the teachers right in front of me then given back. In fact, some of them even told me to fill in some empty spots in the form (school name, phone number) by myself. Is that fine?

    @Sanja: Mail gets lost here quite often too (about 0.1%, but that’s a lot). I’d suggest you photocopy all your forms before you send them and ask your teachers to make a few copies too.

    @Anonymous: Hey, the smartest people I know are good-looking too!

  48. Rose says:

    Wow! Congratulations, Melis!

  49. Paul says:

    @ Anon: You should have nothing to worry about. Generally, teachers are supposed to keep the contents of their recommendations secret from you – but as long the teachers are the ones filling out the recommendation form and writing the letter, no real harm done.

  50. Samujjal says:

    CoNgO Melis!!!!!

    U deserve it…… studyin in MIT is an extraordinary feet in itself..n 2 top dat becumin a rhodes scholar!! Isnt it da stuff dreams r made of!!!

  51. Kim says:

    Take the classes that interest you, not just ones that you think will look best.

  52. Rich says:

    Wow! Truly amazing, Melis, (but not surprising considering your accomplishments and dedication)
    I feel special just having met you!

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