Eight Students Named Marshall Scholar Winners

Six Harvard seniors and two graduate students were named Marshall Scholars this year, more than at any other American university.

Undergraduate winners are Crimson executive Jeffrey N. Gell '97 of Winthrop House and Farmington Hills, Mich.; Mark J. Greif '97 of Adams House and Newton, Mass.; Crimson executive Joyelle H. McSweeney '98-'97 of Lowell House and Berwyn, Penn.; Joshua D. Oppenheimer '97, of Eliot House and Santa Fe, N.M.; Debra L. Shulman '97 of Quincy House and Merion, Penn.; and Julie C. Suk '97 of Dunster House and Great Neck, N.Y.

Suk's sister, Jeannie, won the Marshall in 1994. This is the first time in the program's history that sisters have each received scholarships, Suk said.

Graduate winners are Reshma Jagsi '95, a Harvard Medical School student and Cabot House resident tutor, and Harvard Law School student Albert S. Lee of San Mateo, Calif.

Each student will receive a full tuition scholarship for two or three years of study at any British university, as well as books, travel and living expenses. Forty winners are chosen annually.


Shulman said: "We have an extremely talented pool of potential scholars, and I think it's wonderful that so many people won."

McSweeney said she was surprised to have won the scholarship, because "I think I had some things against me, like my blue hair."

The scholarships, she said, are traditionally awarded to "student council types"--a description she does not apply to herself.

McSweeney serves on the poetry board of the Advocate and hopes to study the poetry of William Butler Yeats. "I'll be knee-deep in Yeats wherever they put me."

McSweeney said her Marshall interviewers put her on the spot about the importance of poetry. "They said things like, 'Don't you think more people watch 'Beavis and Butthead' than go to poetry readings?'" she said.

She is a former editor of the Harvard Political Review and has directed the Debate Outreach Program, which teaches debating skills to Cambridge seventh- and eighth-graders.

Gell learned he had won the scholarship as he stood at a terminal in Chicago's Midway Airport. He said his interview revolved around football and a recent summer trip to Japan.

"I didn't have to sing [karaoke] for them," Gell said. "If I had to sing, I might not have gotten the scholarship."

Greif said he is looking forward to living in England and studying English literature written between 1880 and 1960.

"I was there for a week once, at Oxford for a day," Greif said. "I liked it. There was lots of green space. I had good fish and chips."

Suk, a joint English and French literature concentrator, will study economic and social history, particularly 19th-century British colonialism.

She is a former managing editor of Perspective.

Jagsi was the legal committee director of Phillips Brooks House and a member of the band and wind ensemble. She concentrated in government and will study health care rationing.

"I am interested in what things we cannot afford to provide, in looking at ways they allocate health care," Jagsi said, noting she plans to engage in public service.

Lee, a graduate of the California Institute of Technology, worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and began a program in China last summer that helps finance elementary schools in poor villages.

Law school student Lee said of his interview: "We engaged in the Socratic method of questioning and answering. They take a particular point and try to nail you on it."

The Marshall Scholarship is named for former Secretary of State George Marshall.

Applicants provide a personal statement, transcript and two letters of recommendation. They also engage in a 30-minute interview.

Harvard had four winners last year.

--R. Alan Leo contributed to this story's reporting.

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