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U of M medical student Priya Sury named 2011 Rhodes Scholar

November 21, 2010

Media note: To download a high resolution photo of Sury, click here.

Priya Sury, a first-year medical student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, has been named a 2011 Rhodes Scholar. Sury is a 2010 summa cum laude graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., where she majored in anthropology and spanish. Her application for the Rhodes Scholarship was endorsed by Washington University. Sury grew up in grew up in Roseville, Minn. and attended Roseville Area High School. Her parents are Raj and Shanti Suryanarayanan.

Sury intends to pursue a career as a physician and a medical anthropologist. In her application for the Rhodes Scholarship, Sury writes that, as a high school student, she found medicine to be overly sterile, and opted instead to study anthropology. In college, however, she discovered that her anthropological interest in health care practices was leading her toward medicine after all. Several community service projects gradually convinced her, she says, that in order for medicine to be effective, it must be sensitive to cultural and social needs.

As an undergraduate, Sury secured a grant from the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Foundation to develop and implement an HIV/AIDS prevention education seminar in the Dominican Republic. The seminar was offered to pregnant women who visited a clinic and volunteered to be tested for HIV. Sury was impressed by the women’s strong motivation to learn how to protect themselves and their babies from infection. She founded Art for AIDS Photography, which raises funds for AIDS prevention education by selling original artwork.

Sury also created an interactive multimedia science curriculum in collaboration with Mayo Clinic and Washington University, which she used in science classes in inner-city St. Louis. While studying abroad in Santiago, Chile during her junior year at Washington University, Sury became intrigued by the popularity of yoga in Chile and conducted an ethnographic study of yoga practice in Santiago and the United States. This research formed the basis for her summa cum laude thesis, “Yoga, Modernity, and Paradoxes of Upper Class Discontent.”

Sury plans to earn a Masters of Science in medical anthropology at Oxford, and will then return to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities to complete her medical degree.

Thirty-two Rhodes Scholars are selected each year to represent the United States. Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for one to three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. The Rhodes Scholarship, established in 1902, is the oldest international scholarship. Sury is the sixth University of Minnesota-Twin Cities student to receive a Rhodes Scholarship since 2001.

Priya Sury 300

Priya Sury, a first-year medical student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, has been named a 2011 Rhodes Scholar. Sury is a 2010 summa cum laude graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.

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