Two Air Force Academy cadets win Rhodes Scholarships

Cadet 1st Class James Brahm and Cadet 1st Class Madison Tung.


By DEBBIE KELLEY | The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) | Published: November 21, 2018

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Tribune News Service) — Three of the 32 winners of the 2019 Rhodes Scholarship have ties to Colorado Springs, and two recipients of the prestigious award, which pays for college seniors to study at Oxford University in England in the fall, are cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Cadet 1st Class James Brahm, of Huntsville, Ala., is majoring in computer science, with a minor in Chinese and nuclear weapons and strategy; and Cadet 1st Class Madison Tung, of Santa Monica, Calif., is double majoring in mathematics and humanities. She also is pursuing a minor in Chinese.

The third winner, Serene Singh, is majoring in political science and journalism at University of Colorado in Boulder.

Singh is the 20th Rhodes Scholarship recipient from CU Boulder and the first in 25 years. She's also the first woman from the campus to win the scholarship.

The cadets are the Air Force Academy's 40th and 41st recipients of the award since it was established in 1902 by philanthropist Cecil Rhodes.

Brahm is a Truman Scholar who has a computer science-related patent pending with the U.S. Patent Office. He commands the Wing Information Services Team, which ensures IT support to 4,000 cadets. He has worked extensively in cybersecurity.

Tung, also a Truman Scholar, researches the use of artificial intelligence and other mathematical techniques. She's a six-time All-American, national champion in women's wrestling.

Singh holds the titles of Miss Colorado Teen 2016 and America’s Junior Miss. She also won a Boettcher Scholarship and a Truman Scholarship. She started a nonprofit, the Serenity Project, Brave Enough to Fly, to empower at-risk women through skills she's gained in pageantry.

Rhodes Scholarship winners are selected on academic achievement, personal integrity and leadership potential, among other attributes.

“A Rhodes Scholar should show great promise of leadership,” Elliot F. Gerson, the American secretary of the Rhodes Trust, said in a news release. “In short, we seek outstanding young men and women of intellect, character, leadership and commitment to service.”

Applicants must be endorsed by their college or university. This year, more than 2,500 students sought their university’s endorsement, and 880 students were endorsed by 281 colleges.

Nearly half of this year’s 32 recipients are immigrants or first-generation Americans.

The scholarship pays all college fees, provides a stipend and transportation to and from England, for an award of up to $70,000 per year for up to four years.

©2018 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
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