Two of the 40 members of this year's class of Marshall
Scholarship winners are from Johns Hopkins University
— Daniel T. Davis, who is working on a bachelor's
degree in music and a master's degree in
history, and Sondra L. Hellstrom,
who is double majoring in physics and electrical engineering
and minoring in
Marshall Scholarships are funded by the British
government to commemorate the Marshall Plan, the U.S.
government program that assisted in the reconstruction of
Europe after World War II. The scholarship pays university
fees and living expenses, as well as travel to and from the
Both Davis and Hellstrom will apply their scholarships
to studying their passions. Davis, 22, hopes to pursue a
master's degree in music composition at the Royal Academy
of Music. Hellstrom, 20, will pursue a master's degree in
the study of nanomaterials at the Imperial College of
Science, Medicine and Technology during her first year of
study. She will choose to pursue either a master's in
technology policy at Cambridge University or a master's
degree in optics and photonics from the Imperial College
during her second year.
Two years of study abroad promises to be a
life-changing experience with its own trials and rewards,
Sondra L. Hellstrom is double
majoring in physics and electrical engineering and minoring
"The idea of being a Marshall Scholar still seems
somewhat unreal; it's the type of award one hears about
other people getting," Hellstrom said. "I don't think I
will really understand what it means until I get on the
airplane next year."
Hellstrom, of Ellicott City, Md., is on course to
receive her bachelor's degree in May 2004 with a double
major in physics and electrical engineering and a minor in
math. In addition to her studies, Hellstrom is dedicated to
singing and has performed at the Amalfi Coast Music
Festival, with the Johns Hopkins Choral Society and with
the Peabody Chamber Singers. She plans to continue her
informal study of music while in London, taking advantage
of her proximity to cultural events at the Royal Albert
Hall and Royal College of Music.
"Sondra's course work record shows outstanding
performance in a rigorous program leading to degrees in
electrical engineering and physics," said Wilson J. Rugh,
Edward J. Schaefer Professor of Electrical and Computer
Engineering in the Whiting School. "In addition, she has
undertaken research projects at Hopkins in the physics of
materials, and she has been involved in summer jobs at
Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stanford University and IBM
Watson Research Laboratory. Her professional
accomplishments in research and her breadth of activity are
astounding, including leadership roles in student
organizations ranging across engineering, physics and
music. It is obvious that her talents contribute to campus
life in a number of ways."
Daniel Davis is working on a
in music and a master's in history.
Davis, of Waxhaw, N.C., already holds an undergraduate
degree in history from Johns Hopkins. He has served in
North Carolina as composer-in-residence at Brightstar Music
Festival and is also founder and director of Carolina
NewMusic, a free series of summer concerts devoted to
contemporary music. In addition to winning numerous prizes,
grants and fellowships, he was named to the USA Today
All-USA Academic Team in 2002, the first composer to earn a
spot on the team in 12 years. His saxophone chamber
concerto titled Bridge of San Luis Rey, written for Harlan
Parker, conductor of the Peabody Wind Ensemble, and
saxophonist Jason McFeaters, was performed by the Peabody
Wind Ensemble on Nov. 5. The Peabody Camerata and the
Peabody Opera Workshop will present the world premiere of
Davis' chamber opera If I Were a Voice in April 2004. The
opera follows the lives of the Hutchinsons, a 19th-century
family of singers and radical reformers.
Studying in the United Kingdom is a great opportunity
for a young composer, Davis said.
"As a composer, I find it extremely important to be
exposed to musical artists who will challenge my artistic
senses in yet unimaginable ways," Davis said. "British
composers have traditionally worked from notably different
aesthetic sensibilities than American composers, and,
though I most certainly consider myself an
'American-sounding' composer, I am thrilled at the
prospects of gaining new perspectives on the art."
In the Krieger School, he works under the guidance of
history professor Michael Johnson. At Peabody, Davis
studies piano/ accompanying with Nancy Roldan and Eileen
Cornett and composition with Christopher Theofanidis,
winner of the 2003 Masterprize.
"Daniel has excellent potential as a composer,
particularly of dramatic works," Theofanidis wrote in his
letter of recommendation for Davis' Marshall Scholarship
application. "His writing has taken on a remarkably mature
and focused direction in the past three years, owing
largely to his genuine curiosity and openness, his critical
thinking and, above all, his incredible work ethic. He is
the most consistently productive of all my students."
Marshall Scholarships give up to 40 winners each year
the opportunity to study at any British university.
Recipients must be U.S. citizens no older than 25 with a
cumulative grade-point average of 3.70 after freshman year.
Besides a letter of endorsement from their university and
four other letters of recommendation, applicants must
submit by early October an outline of their proposed
studies in Great Britain along with a personal essay. After
a regional selection committee reviews the applications,
candidates are chosen and interviewed by the committee in
The university's most recent previous Marshall winner
was Lionel D. Foster in 2001. The announcement of this
year's pair of Marshall Scholarship winners from Johns
Hopkins follows the news that a third senior, 20-year-old
biology major Wen Shi of West Bloomfield, Mich., was named
a Rhodes Scholar.