Published: Oct. 2, 2013

Three MSU students nominated for prestigious international scholarships

Contact(s): Stephanie Cepak Honors College office: (517) 355-2326, Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore Honors College office: (517) 35-2326

Three Michigan State University students have been nominated for prestigious scholarship awards – the Rhodes Scholarship and the Marshall Scholarship.

The awards allow students to pursue their graduate studies at universities in the United Kingdom. All three have chosen different fields of study, including neuroscience, ecological economics and public health.

MSU has a strong history with these awards, producing 17 Marshall Scholars and 16 Rhodes Scholars.

Nominated for the Marshall Scholarship are: Kaavya Ramesh, an Honors College senior majoring in international relations and comparative cultures and politics in James Madison College and Chinese in the College of Arts and Letters; Hannah Selig, an Honors College senior majoring in anthropology in the College of Social Science and chemistry in the College of Natural Science; and Craig Pearson, an Honors College senior majoring in neuroscience, biochemistry and molecular biology in the College of Natural Science and English in the College of Arts and Letters.

Pearson has also been nominated for the Rhodes Scholarship.

“Each of these students are talented in their own right and are passionate about leaving their mark on the world,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the MSU Honors College. “Michigan State University has given these students the solid foundation they need to take their skills and passion to the next level and these major awards can open many doors for them in their future endeavors.”

An internship at an energy research institute throughout the summer solidified Ramesh’s plans to learn more about how free-market economics can solve environmental problems. If awarded the Marshall Scholarship, Ramesh plans to pursue her master’s degree in global environment, politics and society at the University of Edinburgh for one year and then study ecological economics at the University of Edinburgh. Ramesh plans to advise businesses on sustainable practices.

“I’m essentially trying to bridge the gap between the concerns of industry and the concerns of environmentalists,” Ramesh said. “I think I’ve learned a lot about myself from this process.”

Ramesh is a member of the MSU debate team, winning the Freshman-Sophomore National Championship in 2012. She was a resident adviser and debate instructor for the Spartan Debate Institutes.

During her time as a student, Ramesh also learned Mandarin Chinese through the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship Program. She’s a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

An intensive study abroad experience in Azerbaijan opened Selig’s eyes to the lives of women in the region and the health system available to them. If awarded the Marshall Scholarship, Selig plans to pursue her master’s degree in public health in developing countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for one year. She will then pursue a master’s degree in development studies with special reference to Central Asia at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

After her studies, she hopes to return to Azerbaijan and work on women’s health issues in the region.

“I want to study public health and focus in central Asia,” Selig said. “I’m a cancer survivor, so the field of health is very interesting to me and very personal for me.”

Selig entered MSU as an Alumni Distinguished Scholarship recipient, is a member of H-STAR (Honors Students Actively Recruiting) and serves as an undergraduate research assistant for the Young Women’s Health History Study. Prior to that, she was an undergraduate research assistant for Mindy Morgan, creating a periodical database and tracking key trends. With Morgan, Selig co-presented “Workers into Warriors: Transforming the Discursive Space of Indians at Work” at the 2011 American Folklore Society National Conference.

Volunteering in high school, Pearson worked with students with visual impairments. If awarded the Marshall Scholarship, Pearson plans to pursue his doctorate degree in clinical neurosciences from the University of Cambridge. If awarded the Rhodes Scholarship, Pearson plans to pursue his doctoral degree in neuroscience from Oxford University.

Pearson plans to develop treatments for blindness and visual impairments.

“How the brain processes what it sees, perception – all of that stuff gets me really excited,” Pearson said. “Being able to utilize that interest, and that passion and that ability to then affect people in a positive way and do things to bring some vision to people who don’t have it really makes me tick.”

Pearson entered MSU as an Alumni Distinguished Scholarship recipient and now serves as an undergraduate research assistant in the MSU Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences and an undergraduate lab manager and lead undergraduate researcher for the MSU Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition Lab.

He has served as a clinical volunteer at the MSU Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology. Pearson also is the student managing editor for ReCUR, the Red Cedar Undergraduate Research Journal, and is the founder and managing editor of Exceptions: The Art and Literary Journal for Students with Visual Disabilities.

The Rhodes Trust, the oldest of the major international competitive award foundations, provides 32 of the most outstanding undergraduates in the country an opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in England.

The Marshall Commission provides support to approximately 40 of the most outstanding undergraduates in the country to study at any university in the United Kingdom.

The National and International Fellowship and Scholarship office at Michigan State University, administered by the Honors College, helps interested undergraduate and graduate students to pursue major national and international opportunities by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application processes.

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