Brown Alumni Magazine, Providence, Rhode Island, 24 January 2007, Island Hopper
Homeschooled on a sailboat, Keriann Backus ’07 wins a Rhodes.
The approach — which featured lots of homeschooling, hours reading at sea, and very little interaction with other kidsseems to have worked. In November, Backus was named a Rhodes Scholar, making her the fourth Brown student to receive the prestigious award in the last five years.
At Brown, Backus worked with two professors to develop a new class of molecules that more easily bind certain types of metals. The Seattle native won the Merck Prize as the highest-scoring student in organic chemistry and was awarded the University’s Pfizer Fellowship. She also played the bassoon, trained as a long distance runner, rode her bike across the United States to raise money for Habitat for Humanity, and taught science to disadvantaged kids in the Providence school system.