Rice senior named Luce Scholar

Sid Richardson College senior Cyrus Ghaznavi is one of 18 Luce Scholars for 2017-18. He was nominated by Rice and chosen for the nationally competitive fellowship program from 161 nominees from 68 universities who have a record of high achievement, outstanding leadership ability and potential for professional accomplishments.

 Cyrus Ghaznavi

Cyrus Ghaznavi

This is the fourth year in a row that a nominee from Rice has been named a Luce Scholar.

The Henry Luce Foundation established the program to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. Ghaznavi will receive a stipend while he completes two months of summer language training followed by 10 months of professional placement in an Asian country. Luce Scholars gain new perspectives and cultural insights on their host countries through immersive living and working experiences in Asia.

Raised in Dallas by his Indian mother and Iranian father, Ghaznavi said he loves culture. His multiethnic background has given him a global outlook, especially with respect to international health, he said.

Ghaznavi will graduate in May with a degree in biological sciences and policy studies. As an undergrad he researched rotavirus infection of human intestinal cells to understand how reactive oxygen species incur robust interferon responses. His affinity for virology earned him the nickname “Cyrus the Virus,” an appropriate moniker when he led a student-taught course at Rice called “WWIII: Intro to Biowarfare.”

He will begin his year as a Luce Scholar in June and hopes to be placed at a global health organization in Japan.

In terms of a commitment to global health, Japan is unique among Asian nations for having demonstrated a robust commitment to international health efforts, which makes it a great country in which to work and better understand Asia’s global health landscape, Ghaznavi said.

“Japan is a hub of global health innovation and technology, and I hope to see how science and policy mix while working there; in fact, I think that the science-policy dynamic has only become more relevant given recent developments in the U.S.,” he said.

After his year of studying abroad, Ghaznavi plans to enroll in medical school and eventually use his medical background to work with the World Health Organization on global health policy.

“Ultimately, I hope that my Luce year prepares me to be a globally oriented medical school student and puts me on a track to global health leadership,” Ghaznavi said.

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents, who were missionary educators in China.

Rice students and alumni who would like to be considered for the Luce Scholars Program should contact Madalina Akli, Luce scholarship adviser and associate director of global engagement at the Center for Civic Leadership, at madalina@rice.edu or 713-348-3631.

About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is a Web editor in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.