Sondra L. Hellstrom, a Johns Hopkins University senior from Ellicott City, Md., has been selected by the British government as a Marshall Scholar, one of 40 chosen nationwide.
Hellstrom's selection to one of the most prestigious of academic scholarships for graduating seniors and recent graduates will allow her to spend two years in Great Britain, pursuing 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.
"I have chosen nanotechnology — the nascent, revolutionary field of engineering on the atomic level — as my scientific specialization," Hellstrom, 20, wrote in her application essay for the Marshall Scholarship. "In particular, I am interested in molecular and nano-electronics; carbon nanotubes, quantum confinement, photonic crystals, and electrical properties of novel materials excite me with their capabilities and mysteries."
Hellstrom is one of two Marshall Scholarship winners from Johns Hopkins this year. The other is Daniel T. Davis, 22, of Waxhaw N.C., a senior at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Davis already holds a bachelor's degree in history from Johns Hopkins and also is on track to earn a master's degree in American history in May 2004. A third Johns Hopkins senior, 20-year-old biology major Wen Shi of West Bloomfield, Mich., was named a Rhodes Scholar. The university's most recent Marshall winner was Lionel D. Foster in 2001.
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.
Hellstrom is double majoring in physics and electrical engineering and minoring in math. She is on course to receive her bachelor's degree in May 2004. 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.
Marshall Scholarships give up to 40 winners each year the opportunity to study at any British university. The scholarship pays university fees and living expenses, as well as travel fare to and from the United States. It is typically a two-year grant, with the possibility of extending the scholarship for a third year. 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 mid-November.
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