Hopkins senior a Rhodes scholar

An Anne Arundel County resident and senior at the Johns Hopkins University has been named a Rhodes scholar -- the first from Hopkins since 1988.

Westley W. Moore , 22, of Pasadena, an international relations major, was one of 32 Americans named Rhodes scholars Saturday night.

Joshua D. Nassiri, a senior at the Naval Academy and a resident of Hayden, Idaho, also was awarded one of the prestigious scholarships.

"It's incredible," Moore said yesterday. "It's honestly something that I wasn't expecting. I was blessed and just really fortunate that it worked out."

"It's a terrific recognition of an absolutely terrific student," said Dennis O'Shea, a Hopkins spokesman. "And I think it also reflects well on the entire Hopkins student body."

The scholarship will provide Moore with two years of study at Oxford University in England, where he hopes to pursue an advanced degree in international relations.

Moore is a first lieutenant in the Army Reserves, a certified paratrooper and was a wide receiver on the Blue Jay football team. This spring and summer, he will begin his Army Reserve active duty obligation at military intelligence school in Arizona.

Moore serves on the board of directors of the Central Maryland chapter of the March of Dimes and was chairman of the Men of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at Hopkins. In 1998 and 1999, he served internships in the office of former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who was a Rhodes scholar .

Moore, who graduates this month, is working with the Baltimore public defender's office to create Students Taking A New Direction, a program in which college students will serve as mentors to juveniles who have been arrested.

"I think the biggest thing that the board looked at was a lot of different leadership activities that I've been involved with," Moore said. "I've always been one to build bridges between people."

Moore was raised in the Bronx, N.Y., and moved to Maryland in 1995 with his mother, Joy, when her employer, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, relocated to Baltimore. His father, William, died when Moore was 3.

In 1998, Moore transferred to Hopkins, where his minor is economics, after graduating with an associate's degree from Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Pennsylvania.

Nassiri, 22, was raised in Southern California and graduated from Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton. His family later moved to Idaho. At the Naval Academy, he has a major in chemistry and minor in German. He is president of the men's glee club.

'Kind of overwhelming'

"It's really kind of overwhelming at this point," Nassiri said of his selection for a Rhodes scholarship. He said he is considering a combined degree program at Oxford in philosophy, psychology and physiology. Nassiri said that after he completes his Rhodes scholarship, he intends to attend medical school and become a military physician.

"My experience at Oxford will make me a better officer and a better physician," he said.

The Rhodes scholarships were created in 1902 in the will of British philanthropist Cecil John Rhodes.

950 applicants from U.S.

Winners were selected this year from among 950 applicants at 327 American colleges and universities. Scholars are also chosen from 18 other countries or regions worldwide. The United States has the largest contingent.

Moore completed his final interviews in Washington, where he and other finalists competed for four slots in a region that includes Delaware, Maryland, Washington, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Moore said the interviews were "very intimidating" because they're conducted by boards of influential people who want to see how well candidates handle pressure.

"You know how much the interview means, and you're also sitting in the room with the president of Georgetown University and former Mayor Kurt Schmoke," he said.

Rhodes envisioned candidates who were not just "mere bookworms," says the scholarship's Web site,

Students are selected based on four criteria: literary and scholastic attainments, fondness for and success in sports, compassion for others and leadership potential.

Those who fulfill that criteria will "esteem the performance of public duties as [their] highest aim," Rhodes said, according to the Web site.