I picked up this little nugget of news while working in west Texas last week:
The professors that I discussed in the last post had written letters of recommendation for a brilliant student of theirs who is applying to PhD programs. The student already has guaranteed full-funding from an external institution, has great grades, an established research record and a very clear idea of what he wants to do in his research. This guy should pretty much be a lock for any place he applies to: a brilliant, highly motivated, FREE student.
The only problem, apparently, is that he is of Persian descent and has a traditional Persian first name and surname.....
One of his top choice schools (an institution that will go un-named on this blog, but, suffice it to say that what hapened is not a HUGE surprise considering the school's reputation) sent the student a rejection letter BEFORE receiving transcripts and letters of recommendation. Either he said something extremely offensive in his statement of research interests or his name was offensive enough for this particular university. Arrgh.