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Pitcher Joe Burg named Rhodes Scholar finalist, first Hofstra student to be named in 23 years

By Sean Williams (Staff Writer)

Joseph Burg’s world is full of baseball and Brownian motion, and he has succeeded on both counts. Burg, a senior, has been recognized as a Rhodes Scholar finalist, an award that places emphasis on academic accomplishment with value on athletic achievement. As a pitcher on the Hofstra baseball team and an Honors College student with a 4.0 GPA, Burg also sports a double major in physics and mathematics, Burg certainly meets the prestigious award’s requirements. As the second Hofstra University student to become a Rhodes Scholar finalist (Hilarie Cranmer, a 1989 graduate, was the first) Burg is honored to receive the “prestigious award that has been around for over 100 years now.” In an interview, he talked about juggling academic work with athletic demands, saying that “you can’t get behind as an athlete. Sports force you to be really good with your time,” adding, “if I get a break it’s not going home and taking a nap.” Burg chose Hofstra University for a mixture of “athletic, academic, and financial” reasons, and mentions that the chance to play “a Division I sport out of high school was something I definitely wanted to do.” Hofstra offered him that opportunity. Burg, a lefty, is fifth on the list of career appearances for the baseball team, and says that he is “excited about this season” after especially competitive play last year. The Pride baseball team won 34 games and made it to the CAA Championship last season. Burg has appeared in 65 games and has recorded 86 strikeouts through 123 1/3 innings pitched. Burg hopes to go to grad school for engineering and has just finished applying to a series of elite schools, a list that includes Stanford, Cornell, MIT, Caltech and Columbia. Burg plans to work in a practical application of nanosciences, speaking excitedly about a field that “spans many disciplines. Right now there’s a lot of work being done with the smallest components of nature.” 212 finalists are chosen, with 32 becoming Rhodes Scholars, which awards full scholarships to Oxford University for two or three years of study. While awards are nothing new to Burg (he has received the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award three times, among other achievements) the recognition of being a Rhodes Scholar finalist is a feat that stands above the rest.

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