BOSTON – A student who was shot four times while promoting democracy in Iraq and a senior who is writing her thesis on vampires and blood contagion in 19th century literature were among 32 Americans selected Sunday as Rhodes Scholars for 2006. The scholars, chosen from 903 applicants, will enter Oxford University in England next October. The scholarships fund two or three years of study. About 85 scholars from at least 14 nations are selected each year. One winner was Scott R. Erwin, a 2005 graduate of the University of Richmond in Virginia, who founded Ambassadors of Democracy, a civic-education initiative at Mustanseriya University in Baghdad. He underwent eight hours of surgery in June 2004 after an ambush on the car in which he was riding. Two of his Iraqi friends, both teachers, were killed in the attack. An investigation found that insurgents targeted his car in an attempt to stop civic-education classes, he said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals “I’m proud to say the attacks did not stop the program from continuing,” said Erwin, a 23-year-old native of Weatherby Lake, Mo. “Iraqi students continue to promote democratic ideals to their peers.” Erwin received the Medal for the Defense of Freedom, the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart. He was wounded in both arms and in his abdomen but has recovered. He plans to study international relations at Oxford. Others selected include Alexander K. Dewar, a Wheaton College senior in Massachusetts who built a preschool for children of Ugandan farmers, and Rahul Satija, a senior at Duke University in Durham, N.C., who studies the smallpox virus while also teaching violin to inner-city children. The U.S. Naval Academy had the most students selected: four – the largest number in one year in the academy’s history, said a spokesman, Cmdr. Rod Gibbons. Duke, Yale University and the University of Chicago each had three winners. The Rhodes Scholarship program – initially just for men – was created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist and diamond magnate Cecil Rhodes. Applications were also accepted from women starting in 1976. Winners are selected for attributes including high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!