Johns Hopkins senior Alaleh Azhir named Rhodes Scholar


She is one of 32 American students to win the prestigious international award

When Alaleh Azhir came to the United States at age 14 from Iran, she discovered that she was already fluent in a language that transcends both borders and cultures: mathematics.

A seasoned participant in math competitions in her hometown of Mashhad, Iran, she began competing in the U.S. as a way to meet people.

"Being able to speak the language of math better than English helped me find friends and allowed me to adjust to my life here better—which drove my interest in mathematics further," she says.

On Saturday, the Johns Hopkins senior—who has a triple major in biomedical engineering, computer science, and applied mathematics and statistics—was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, which is among the oldest and best-known awards for international study.