Three Indian American students among 2018 Marshall Scholars

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The Marshall Scholarship Programme began in 1953.

Pradnya Narkhede (Photo by Jean Lachat)

Three Indian American students have been selected for the prestigious Marshall Scholarship for 2018.

Pradnya Narkhede of the University of Chicago, Shruthi Rajasekar of Princeton University, and Meghana Vagwala of Duke University are among 43 students from across America who will be taking up degree courses at leading British universities in a wide variety of disciplines beginning in September 2018, the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission announced on December 4.

Pradnya Narkhede, a fourth-year student at Chicago University, will use her Marshall Scholarship to combine two one-year degrees: the first, at the University of Edinburgh in science and technology in society, and the second at Imperial College London in plant chemical biology.

“This award provides me with an unrivaled opportunity to probe the relationship between science and sustainable development,” said Narkhede.

“Equipped with the tools I hope to gain from my studies in the U.K., I aim to become a globally engaged scientist, contributing innovative discoveries that shape intelligent policy and improve people’s lives worldwide,” she added.

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Shruthi Rajasekar, a resident of Plymouth, Minnesota, is a music major studying composition and voice and is also pursuing certificates in musical performance and cognitive science.

Shruthi Rajasekar

Rajasekar will go to London to work toward a Master of Arts in the new Opera Making and Writing program at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama during her first year abroad.

During the second year, she will pursue a Master of Music in Ethnomusicology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS). She plans to use the degrees to help her meet her long-term goal of writing an opera set in India.

“I was truly stunned to receive the news,” she said. “I’m still overwhelmed and deeply grateful. I very briefly called my family before returning to class. I definitely didn’t want to interrupt the rehearsal, so I quietly shared the news with one of my beloved mentors, Gabriel Crouch, and Stephanie Tubiolo, the new associate director of choirs. After class, I told some dear friends and mentors.”

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Meghana Vagwala of South Grafton, Massachusetts, a senior at Duke University, is the recipient of a four-year, merit-based Angier B. Duke Scholarship.

Meghana Vagwala

As a Marshall Scholar, Vagwala plans for post-graduate studies in medical anthropology at the University of Edinburgh and in global mental health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is particularly interested in exploring cultural norms related to brain health in South India.

“At Duke, I’ve been able to interweave my feminist ethos, love of stories, and curiosity about the workings of the human brain,” Vagwala said. “I am honored and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to dig deeper into these passions as a Marshall Scholar.”

“I’m proud to congratulate the recipients of this year’s Marshall Scholarship, who represent the brightest young minds and leaders the U.S. has to offer”, said Sir Kim Darroch, British Ambassador to the United States.

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“For over six decades, the Marshall Scholarship has played an important part in maintaining the strong bonds of friendship between our two countries. This further expansion of scholarships continues to demonstrate our commitment to our Special Relationship with the US and promoting strong academic ties.”

Named for Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Marshall Scholarship Programme began in 1953 as a gesture of gratitude to the people of the United States for the assistance that the UK received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. The scholarships offer talented young Americans the chance to study for up to three years at a UK university of their choice.