by Chris Chase
Coastal Journal staff
BRUNSWICK — A former student of Brunswick High School now numbers among one of the American college students named a Rhodes Scholar, a prestigious achievement handed out to a small number of students each year.
Margaret Hayden, a former resident of Brunswick and a student at Stanford University, became one of the 32 Americans named each year to the prestigious honor. The title, while significant on its own, also comes with tens of thousands of dollars in support for tuition and other expenses.
“I was shocked,” said Hayden. “I wasn’t really expecting to win.”
Originally, Hayden applied for the scholarship thinking the experience would be a valuable one and would help her learn the process of applying for grants of a similar nature. The process itself is lengthy, and involves a number of steps. According to the Rhodes Scholar’s official website, students are required to write a personal statement, acquire at least five letters of recommendation from persons qualified to comment no the applicant’s academic ability, obtain the endorsement of their college, and more.
“I was not expecting to hear my name,” said Hayden.
Hayden says she feels her achievements are something that not only she can be proud of, but the community of Brunswick can as well.
“This is something that Brunswick High School can be proud of,” said Hayden.
Her mother, Anne Hayden, definitely numbers among those who are proud of her.
“I was very proud, and very surprised, and very happy for her,” said Anne. “We had no idea.”
According to Anne Hayden, her daughter has worked hard for her achievements and deserves the award.
“She works very, very hard,” said Anne Hayden. “She worked hard in high school and she’s worked hard at college.”
Currently, Margaret Hayden is planning on attending the University of Oxford in Oxford, England to earn her master’s degree, in order to continue her current line of work in anthropology and human biology.
“I’ve always been interested in interdisciplinary studies,” said Hayden. Currently, she plans on linking anthropological and biological causes of mental illness in order to form a more complete picture of the types of influences those with mental illness can face.
According to Hayden, the application process was valuable to her as a resource, and it allowed her to reflect on the reasons for her seeking higher education.
“I think I wrote 12 drafts,” said Hayden with a laugh. “It made me take time to write down explicitly what I wanted to do.”
She must have written the word “travel” on one of those forms, because she is definitely on her way.
“I’m really excited to go to Oxford,” said Hayden.