Two from MIT named 2023 Marshall Scholars

MIT senior Rachel Chae and alumnus Sihao Huang ’22 have been selected to join the 2023 class of Marshall Scholars and will begin graduate studies in the U.K. next fall. Funded by the British government, the Marshall Scholarship provides up to 50 scholarships for exceptional American students to pursue advanced study in any field at any university in the U.K.

MIT’s endorsed Marshall candidates are advised and supported by the distinguished fellowships team, led by Associate Dean Kim Benard in Career Advising and Professional Development. They are also mentored by the MIT Presidential Committee on Distinguished Fellowships, co-chaired by professors Will Broadhead and Tamar Schapiro.

“Working with this year’s Marshall applicants has been as rewarding and humbling as ever,” says Broadhead. “These amazing students engage in a months-long exercise in critical introspection and personal growth, supported by the expert mentorship provided by Kim Benard and her team in the Distinguished Fellowships Office and by the dedicated faculty, staff, and graduate students who serve on the Distinguished Fellowships Committee. We on the committee have been inspired by all of this year’s fellowship applicants and are especially pleased to congratulate Rachel and Sihao, whose wisdom, good humor, and future-minded optimism will serve them well as they take their richly deserved places in this year’s class of Marshall Scholars.”

Rachel Chae

Hailing from Irvine, California, senior Rachel Chae is majoring in electrical engineering and computer science and minoring in biological engineering. For her first year as a Marshall Scholar, she will pursue an MSc in translational health sciences at Oxford University, followed by an MSc in health policy, planning, and financing at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in her second year. An aspiring physician-scientist, Chae hopes to become a principal investigator at the National Institutes of Health, pursuing translational research in medical imaging while treating and advocating for overlooked populations in medicine.  

In the Bouma Lab at MIT, Chae’s research has focused on identifying vulnerable coronary artery plaques before they progress. She created optical tissue phantoms with different lipid content and predicted key spectral features using S-OCT processing. She is currently working on ex vivo experiments to validate these predictions. In the Langer Lab, Chae accelerated drug-screening procedures by training a machine-learning algorithm that helps identify podocyte-treating drugs. Chae has also interned at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, where she worked on novel MRI imaging methods for pulmonary disease. 

Throughout her time at MIT, Chae has been involved with MIT Hacking Medicine; as co-director she oversaw the organization of hackathons that tackle medical issues and encourage global health care entrepreneurship. Chae was also the social media manager of Project Prana Foundation, a nonprofit spun out of Professor Giovanni Traverso’s lab that aims to deliver innovative medical solutions to underserved populations. She has held leadership roles with the MIT Premedical Society, the MIT Pistol Team, and the MIT Borderline art mural project.

Sihao Huang 22

Sihao Huang grew up in China and Singapore before moving to New York City. He graduated from MIT in May 2022 with a BS in physics, a BS in electrical engineering, and a minor in political science. Huang will study for a DPhil in politics at Oxford. He aspires to apply insights from complexity science to comparative politics, eventually working at the intersection of academia and government on policy design and evaluation. 

Before arriving at MIT, Huang started a spacecraft systems company, Aphelion Orbitals. He later worked with MIT’s chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space on a student-run satellite project. After spending two years at the MIT Engineering Quantum Systems Group researching the design of superconducting quantum processors, and publishing a first-author paper in PRX Quantum, Huang began working at the MIT Media Lab with Alexander Siegenfeld. There, he applied insights from statistical physics to study electoral representation and polarization.

Huang later performed research on international relations with Professor Taylor Fravel, interviewing diplomats and co-authoring a manuscript on Chinese foreign policy. He also worked on applying symbolic AI to model validation in social science and conducted research at Harvard University’s economics department.

Huang founded the MIT Political Review, the school’s first undergraduate politics journal, and designed and taught high school-level classes on quantitative social science. He spent his senior year at Oxford, where he worked on social movement studies and issues in AI governance. He is currently pursuing a master’s in global affairs at Tsinghua University in China as a 2023 Schwarzman Scholar.