"I'm really pretty ecstatic and trying to take this all in," said Cory Rodgers, 22, of Somerset, Pa. "It was really a surprise."
Rodgers, 22, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with majors in Africana studies, biology, and the history and philosophy of science, and plans to study medical anthropology at Oxford.
"I'm specifically interested in some of the cultural aspects of health programs, international health programs such as those started by the World Health Organization," said Rodgers, who was in Tanzania last year working on a community development project.
After studying at Oxford, he intends to go to medical school, then work as a public health worker and field clinician.
"At some point, I really like the idea of taking a leadership role at the World Health Organization," he said.
Another winner, Bryn Mawr student Nina Cohen, of Newton, Mass., said she was "honored and humbled," especially considering the field.
"I've intellectually processed it, not really emotionally," said Cohen, who plans to study political theory with a focus on how different ethical beliefs are reconciled within a liberal framework and constitutional law.
"In college, I discovered that I really enjoy teaching and mentoring, and that's definitely something that I hope to continue to do," she said.
Cohen said she hopes to become a legal scholar and a federal judge, interpreting the U.S. Constitution, which she called "the greatest, most genius and most active piece of political philosophy ever written."
Zachary Crippen, 20, who's from Bala Cynwyd and attends the Air Force Academy, said he was also surprised that his name was on the list.
"I was in a room with incredible people who no doubt will be changing the world in their own right," Crippen said of others who interviewed for the scholarship. He plans to work on master's degrees in public policy and one in science in global governance and diplomacy.
He hopes to someday be a judge advocate in the Air Force.
Crippen studied Arabic in Egypt and also spent time with the Israel Defense Force studying Israeli-Palestinian relations and the country's relationship with the United States. The youngest member of his U.S. Air Force Academy class, he is scheduled to graduate in May.
"I've known since I was very young that I wanted to live a life of public service," he said. "And I think the military is an excellent way to at least start that because it inculcates a sense of discipline, I think develops in you a zeal and a love for your country that is hard to parallel."