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A chance to focus on an academic passion at Oxford – Harvard Gazette

Hometown: Naperville, Ill.
Concentration: Government, Technology Science Track

Trisha Prabhu is dedicated to making the internet a safer place. At Harvard, Prabhu is concentrating in government on the tech science track, which looks at the unexpected consequences of technology and aims to create new solutions to conflicts between technology and society.

“My goal will be to continue the work that I’ve had the chance to do here at Harvard, where I look at the unforeseen consequences of technology and the internet on our society,” Prabhu said. “I think about how we can solve the internet’s harms and try to create a digital world that is more kind, inclusive, and fair.”

Prabhu is the founder and CEO of ReThink Inc., an app that detects offensive digital content and allows users the opportunity to reconsider posting it online. She also holds several patents and was recently a Civic Digital Fellow at the US Department of Health and Human Services, where she helped lead the KidneyX Accelerator to incentivize businesses and innovators to work on kidney care technology solutions.

At Oxford, Prabhu hopes to study the social science of the internet and public policy.

Being named a Rhodes Scholar “is such a surreal, yet very special experience. More than anything, I just feel such immense gratitude for the people that have gotten me here, members of the Harvard community like my professors, who encouraged me to go after an opportunity like this and equipped me with the skills and confidence,” Prabhu said . She noted that she’s excited to join the “exceptional community” at Oxford, with “smart changemakers who care deeply about the problems that they want to try to affect change on.”

Photo by Daniel Huang

Hometown: Brossard, Quebec, Canada
Concentration: Applied Mathematics and Economics, Secondary in Philosophy

An applied mathematics and economics concentrator, Ramiz Razzak monetary studies and fiscal tools that can be used to manage economic crises, which typically disproportionately affect the most vulnerable. As part of his senior thesis, Razzak is investigating whether central banks should use interest rate policy to counteract the buildup of financial imbalances. His research on him is also looking at whether North American monetary policy has historically been responsive to changes in sentiment in credit markets.

At Oxford, Razzak hopes to continue this work, with a particular focus on how current economic tools affect financial stability and inequality. He intends to study economic and social history.

“I really am passionate about that research, because I feel that people who are most vulnerable during those types of events are the ones that get hit first,” he said. “If we can get even a little bit more clarity in terms of how to go about doing a better job using monetary and fiscal tools, I think that we can have a big impact.”

While he’s unsure where his studies will take him, Razzak is sure about one thing: He eventually wants to return home to Canada to serve his community.

“I don’t know what form it’ll take,” Razzak said. “If it’s through monetary policy at the Bank of Canada or fiscal policy with the Department of Finance Canada, or even involvement in Quebec, I just know that’s something that I hold dearly. I want to give back to a community in a country that has given so much to me.”

Tony Williams.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Hometown: Spanish Town, Jamaica
School: Harvard Graduate School of Education

Tonia N. Williams sees her next chapter at Oxford as a chance to continue to pursue her academic passion for education — a journey she began at Harvard last year. Williams, who is a master’s student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, will seek a doctorate in experimental psychology with a focus on developmental psychology.

Williams entered Vassar College with a desire to learn more about the intersections of computer science and education, and focused on psychology. By the end of college, she had a strong foundation in neuroscience and other physiological elements of psychology but wanted to expand her understanding of early childhood development.

That led to her HGSE degree and a position as a research assistant in the Spelke Lab at the Harvard Laboratory for Developmental Studies. At Oxford, she wants to continue learning about psychological research in early childhood development that can be used to improve education.

“This whole process taught me to trust my instincts,” said Williams. “I almost applied for the Rhodes last year and didn’t because I thought my application could be stronger this year. I followed my interests from computer science and education to physiological psychology and back to human development. My interests have pulled me in different directions, I’ve trusted the process, and it’s all worked out.”

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