Brown Seniors Awarded Rhodes and Mitchell Scholarships

November 19, 2012

Clayton Aldern (L)  and Lucas Mason-Brown (R)Clayton Aldern (L) and Lucas Mason-Brown (R)The Office of the Dean of the College is happy to announce that Clayton Page Aldern '13, of Cedar, Minnesota,  has been been awarded a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford and Lucas Mason-Brown '13, of Belmont, Massachusetts, has been awarded a Mitchell scholarship to study at Trinity College, Dublin.  The awards were announced this weekend after both Brown seniors  participated in finalists interviews for the respective scholarships. While Brown has enjoyed recent success with the Rhodes scholarship, this is the first time since 2002 that Brown has had a Mitchell scholar.

Clayton ("Clay") Aldern '13 is a neuroscience concentrator writing an honors thesis that examines visual formation processing and decision-making as a way to understand neurological diseases related to memory loss.   Clay has been a research assistant in the Burwell lab in Brown's Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences  for several years.  He also served as a research assistant with the McGarvey lab at Brown's International Health Institute in Western Samoa with the support of an UTRA.   Clay is as committed to outreach and education as he is to research science.  He serves as a Meiklejohn leader, a writing fellow, and a teaching assistant for Computational Vision in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences.  He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Post, the Brown Daily Herald's weekend supplement where he writes primarily about contempory folk music.   His work as a research assistant for One Mind for Research, a neurological disease-focused non-profit organization, brings together many of Clay's passions as they work to address mental health pathologies and the policy approaches essential to targeting them.  Clay plans to study Neuroscience at Oxford and continue his commitment to science literacy and outreach.

Lucas Mason-Brown '13 is a Mathematics and Logic and the Philosophy of Science concentrator and a cyrptographer who achieved notoriety recently for solving a 350 year old mystery when he deciphered the marginalia in the so-called mystery book at the John Hay library and helped to identify the author as Roger Williams, the 17th century radical theologian and founder of the state of Rhode Island.   After initially approaching the problem through statistical analysis with no results, Lucas decided to study the history of 17th century ciphers and the biography of Williams.  He learned that Williams spoke six languages and knew several shorthand systems as well, having apprenticed as a court stenographer.  Lucas began to research these shorthand systems and found the clue he needed there to crack the code, which led him to decode over 180 pages of Williams' marginalia.  Lucas' cryptographic success has been covered in the Providence Journal and The Atlantic and has sparked several invitations to lecture.  Lucas is writing an honors thesis in Mathematics, has been a researcher in Harvard's PRISE fellowship program under Dr. Benedict Gross, and served as a Bioinformatics Intern at MIT's Whitehead Institute.  In addition to his remarkable achievements as a scholar, Lucas is a committed tutor of Mathematics here at Brown and within the Providence community.  He is also a drummer and skier.  At Trinity College, Dublin, Lucas will study Mathematics.