University of Minnesota

Ryan Maus, University News Service,, (612) 624-1690

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (11/23/2010) —Prerna Nadathur, a graduate student in the College of Science and Engineering’s School of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, has been named a 2011 Rhodes Scholar. Nadathur, a graduate of Roseville Area High School in Roseville, Minn., received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in the spring of 2010 where she majored in mathematics and minored in linguistics and philosophy. Her application for the Rhodes Scholarship was endorsed by the University of Chicago.

Nadathur is currently a first-year graduate student pursuing a masters degree in mathematics with an emphasis in mathematics education. Nadathur’s parents are both faculty members at the University of Minnesota — her father, Gopalan Nadathur is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and her mother is Ameeta Kelekar, an assistant professor in the Department of Lab Medicine and Pathology.

While at the University of Chicago, Nadathur played violin in the chamber orchestra, was a leader in student government and in social justice activities and founded a chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. She has done independent research on social choice theorems and set theory. Nadathur also writes poetry and fiction, pursues classical Indian dance and has won prizes for her piano performances.

While attending Roseville High School, Nadathur participated in the University of Minnesota’s Talented Youth Mathematics Program through the School of Mathematics Center for Educational Programs (UMTYMP). This educational outreach program provides a challenging alternative for Minnesota’s talented mathematics students in grades 6-12. Nadathur was so successful in her UMTYMP courses that she was later hired as a teaching assistant in the program before leaving to attend the University of Chicago. As a junior and senior in high school, Nadathur was also a Post-Secondary Education Option (PSEO) student at the U of M.

At Oxford, Nadathur plans to pursue a masters of philosophy (M.Phil.) degree in general linguistics and comparative philology. After Oxford, she plans to pursue a doctorate degree in linguistics and eventually a career in the field.

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. Nadathur is the seventh University of Minnesota-Twin Cities student to receive a Rhodes Scholarship since 2001, joining former high school classmate and fellow U of M graduate student Priya Sury as those receiving the honor in 2011.