Two seniors and one recent graduate of the University of Kansas have been nominated to compete for prestigious Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, which provide for graduate study in Great Britain.

Christopher Winters Martin, a senior majoring in architectural engineering from Dodge City, Kan., and Geneva, Ala., is competing for a Marshall scholarship.

Rachelle Briana Netzer, a spring 2010 graduate in political science from Lawrence, is competing for a Rhodes scholarship.

Chantz Palmer Thomas, a senior majoring in microbiology and history from Lindsborg, is competing for both a Rhodes and a Marshall scholarship.

The Rhodes Foundation annually awards 32 Rhodes scholarships among 16 U.S. districts. The Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission of Britain annually awards up to 40 Marshall scholarships in eight U.S. regions.

KU students have won 25 Rhodes scholarships since 1904, more than all other Kansas colleges and universities combined, and nine Marshall scholarships since 1965.

The 2010 Rhodes competitions take place Nov. 19 and 20. If invited, KU nominees will interview in Kansas City, Mo., alongside competitors from a district that includes Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Mississippi. Two winners will be selected from each district immediately following the Nov. 20 interviews.

KU’s nominees for Marshall scholarships are competing in the Chicago region. Winners in the Chicago region will be selected following Nov. 9 and 10 interviews for finalists. Nominees selected for finalists interviews will travel to Chicago along with other competitors from Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Winners have 12 days to accept or decline the offer.

Rhodes scholarships were first offered in 1903 and may be used only at Oxford University. Marshalls scholarships were first offered in 1954 and may be used at any university in Britain.

KU students are nominated by faculty and staff. Final nominees are selected through the University Honors Program faculty and staff.

Chantz Palmer Thomas plans to become a physician and scientist. His long-term goals include working to prevent transplant rejection, manage autoimmune disease and combat cancer. With a Marshall scholarship, Thomas would like pursue master’s degrees in immunology and translational medicine. With a Rhodes scholarship, he would like to expand his study of the policy and economics in science and medicine. His quest of research to characterize and control the immune system was inspired during freshman honors tutorial with KU immunologist Laurence Draper, now an emeritus professor. This spring, Thomas was one of 12 students in the country offered a summer internship in immunology at Harvard Medical School. His internship was with the school’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and he is being listed among the co-authors of a Harvard research paper that has been submitted for publication. As a KU freshman, Thomas was one of 21 selected for KU’s Honors Research Development Program, which provides incoming sophomores in the sciences and humanities a three-week immersion in basic research methods with a faculty mentor. In that program, Thomas began assisting with immunology research in the lab of Stephen H. Benedict, professor of molecular biosciences. In past two years, Thomas has contributed to research that has implications for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, insulin dependent diabetes and multiple sclerosis as well as prevention of transplant rejection. Thomas was one of eight students to received a 2009 undergraduate research scholarship through the Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) program at KU. The scholarships encourage students to pursue careers in science and, ultimately, promote biomedical research in Kansas. More recently, Thomas became one of four students in the state to receive a K-INBRE Star Trainee Award, which identifies outstanding prospective biomedical researchers during the junior year and provides financial support for the senior year. Last spring, he was nominated for a Goldwater scholarship. Thomas is a member of the University Honors Program. He has a Summerfield scholarship, one of KU’s most prestigious awards for the top graduates of Kansas high schools and is a University Scholar. With his University Scholars mentor, Jonathan Earle, associate professor of history, Thomas is engaged in an independent study of the history of medicine and science. Beyond the classroom, Thomas has provided leadership in his field and on campus. With two faculty members in molecular biosciences — Benedict and Scott Hefty, assistant professor — he helped found KU’s chapter of the American Society for Microbiology and serves as president. He was a freshman student senator and chaired the Student Health Advisory Board. He has served on the review board of the KU Journal of Undergraduate Research and performed with the university’s Jazz Band III. He is the son of Greg and Lorye Thomas and a Smoky Valley High School graduate.