Duke Senior Gabriella Deich Named Rhodes Scholar

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Gabriella Deich

A Duke University senior was among the 32 recipients selected this weekend for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships. 

Gabriella "Elle" Deich from Savannah, Georgia, was chosen from among 963 applicants at 298 colleges and universities throughout the country, and is the 50th student in Duke’s history to receive a Rhodes Scholarship. The scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. 

“We are so very proud that Elle has been named a Rhodes Scholar,” said Duke President Vincent E. Price. “This historic honor recognizes both her extraordinary work as an undergraduate and her promise for an equally extraordinary career to come. Among Duke’s many accomplished alumni, we have a particular regard for those 49 students who have been named Rhodes Scholars; we are truly delighted to add Elle to that distinguished list, and we look forward to following their work closely over the coming decades.”

Deich was self-taught prior to enrolling at Duke. The recipient of a four-year, merit-based Angier B. Duke Scholarship, she designed her own major at Duke -- Biological and Artificial Intelligence.

She hopes to pursue degrees in Computer Science and Global Governance at Oxford, and her long-term plans include working in the field of biosecurity and broader global catastrophic risk reduction.  

In addition to her work at Duke, Deich is a research fellow in the Baym lab at Harvard Medical School, where she works to improve rapid diagnostics of infectious diseases. She was also elected a Summer Research Scholar in computational biology at MIT and a Lord Rothermere Scholar in Science Ethics at Oxford. She has been a part of the winning team at the American Statistical Association’s Datafest competition at Duke for two consecutive years. 

Academics are not her only focus, though. Deich is a co-founder of the Arete Fellowship at Duke as well as a longtime affiliate of Duke Effective Altruism and One for the World, campus groups that promote student efforts to positively affect the world around them by improving their efforts to do good and serve others well.   

“I am humbled to have been selected as a 2020 Rhodes Scholarship recipient,” Deich said. “I would like to thank all of the professors and friends who encouraged and supported me during my time as an undergraduate.”

Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. Recipients are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and a commitment to service, among other attributes. 

The value of the Rhodes Scholarship varies depending on the academic field, and the degree (B.A., master's, doctoral) chosen. The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford and during vacations, and transportation to and from England. A complete list of this year's recipients is online at http://www.rhodesscholar.org.