Three Elis are among 35 students nationwide who will begin graduate studies in the United Kingdom in the fall as this year’s Marshall Scholars.
James Luccarelli ’10, a Branford senior who will graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry, will pursue a bachelor of philosophy in chemistry at Oxford. Anna Jo Smith ’10, a sociology major in Morse College, will study public health promotion at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine before completing a master’s degree in public policy and management at the London School of Economics. And Nabiha Syed LAW ’10 — who was endorsed for the scholarship by her undergraduate alma mater, Johns Hopkins University — will undertake a one-year program at Oxford in comparative media law and policy.
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Four Stanford students received the scholarship this year, the highest total of any institution. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology had two scholarship recipients, while Harvard and Princeton each had one Marshall scholar.
The Marshall Scholarship, established by the British Parliament in 1953 in honor of U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, funds up to 40 American students to pursue graduate studies at any British school. Applicants must first apply to be endorsed by their undergraduate institution before entering a nationwide application and interviewing process. This year, only 35 students were selected, the lowest number in the past five years.
Luccarelli, who hails from New York City, said he was “absolutely overjoyed and incredibly humbled” to be named a Marshall Scholar, having spent much of last summer working on his application. He said he chose to apply for the Marshall Scholarship because it offered him the opportunity to work with some of the best researchers in the field of chemistry.
As part of his two-year program, Luccarelli will conduct pharmacology research at the laboratory of Andrew Hamilton, the former Yale Provost and Chemistry department chair who is now the vice chancellor at Oxford. Luccarelli added that he plans to enter medical school and eventually become a researcher.
Branford College Master Steven Smith said he was “thrilled” to hear of Luccarelli’s success.
“He gave a presentation in Branford’s Mellon Forum of his senior research that was wonderfully clear and lucid,” Smith. “It is rare when a student involved in a very technical area of scientific research is able to communicate his ideas so effectively.”
Gary Brudvig, a professor of chemistry and molecular biophysics and biochemistry who taught Luccarelli in a graduate-level course on bioinorganic chemistry, said the Branford senior excelled despite being the sole undergraduate in the class.
While Luccarelli will study at Oxford for two years, Anna Jo Smith will split her two years of study between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics.
She said her decision to attend both institutions came from her desire to explore how public policy can be applied to the study of childcare and early education, which she said has long been an area of interest for her. Since arriving at Yale, Smith has worked as a preschool assistant for All Our Kin, a New Haven-based nonprofit that aims to expand community access to childcare and educational services. She currently serves as the coordinator for the Dwight Hall Student Executive Committee.
“She’s already done terrific work as a scholar, as a public servant, and as Morse’s Head Freshman Counselor,” Morse College Dean Joel Silverman said. “I’m absolutely certain that she’s going to make extraordinary contributions to in the field of children’s health.”
Alex Knopp, executive director of Dwight Hall, said Smith is one of the “most impressive, mature, competent and hard-working students” he has met at Yale. He said Smith’s work on drafting a user-friendly guide to a state program that helps low-to middle-income families pay for childcare contributed to increasing enrollment among poor families.
Syed, now in her third year at Yale Law School, graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and anthropology from Johns Hopkins.
As an undergraduate, she was a member of an international relief organization and published articles on microfinance, religious law in Pakistan and family law in Malaysia. Earlier this year, Sayed published a book titled “Replicating Dreams: Examining the Grameen Bank and the Kashf Foundation,” which discusses the effectiveness of group-lending micro-credit agencies.
Syed did not respond to an e-mail request for comment Tuesday.
Last year, Adam Bouland ’09 was the only Yale student to receive the Marshall scholarship.
Correction: Dec. 2, 2009
An earlier version of this article should have specified that Yale tied with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with two undergraduate recipients of the Marshall Scholarship. Including a law student, Yale had three scholars overall.