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5 ASU students, alumni nominated for Marshall and Rhodes scholarships

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October 16, 2023

The Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement (ONSA) has announced that five Arizona State University students and alumni have been nominated for Marshall and Rhodes scholarships.

Together, these two awards are among the most coveted graduate fellowships in the world, each with approximately 1,000 applicants per year and a selection rate below 4%.

The Marshall Scholarship provides full support for two years of graduate study at any university in the United Kingdom, while the Rhodes Scholarship provides full funding for two years of post-graduate study at Oxford University.

Notable Marshall Scholars include Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Neil Gorsuch, MacArthur Fellowship-winning psychologist Angela Duckworth and Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn. Notable American Rhodes Scholars include President Bill Clinton, MSNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and current Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

In the 2023 competition cycle, Katie Pascavis and Nathaniel Ross received the Marshall and the Rhodes scholarships, respectively, marking ASU as one of only three public universities in the United States to produce a winner of both fellowships.

This year's nominees include graduating seniors Flannery Lindeman, Jordan Miller and Kadison Willis, as well as alumni Danielle Brister and Madisyn GoodBallet.

“This cohort of applicants is an incredibly committed set of students and alumni, as well as an inspiring group of future leaders,” said Kyle Mox, associate dean for national scholarships.

As the director of ONSA, Mox serves as the designated ASU liaison for the Marshall and Rhodes scholarship programs and oversees the campus nomination process for the awards.

To apply for either award, candidates must be nominated by their undergraduate institutions. At ASU, nominations are determined by a select faculty committee that considers the applicants’ academic records, leadership and service activities, previous awards and honors, and letters of recommendation.

“Typically, ASU nominees are among the top 1% academically,” Mox said. “But academic achievement alone isn’t enough. To be competitive, applicants must have a clear sense of purpose that will provide benefit to society or attempt to solve a major global issue.”

Applicants typically spend months preparing their materials, which include several essays and up to eight letters of recommendation. Between April and September, applicants engage in pre-writing and brainstorming activities, craft outlines and compose multiple drafts of the application essays, all under the guidance of ONSA advisors and their own faculty mentors.

“It isn’t unusual for a candidate to spend over 100 hours on the drafting and revision process,” Mox said.

Each of the awards requires a substantial amount of writing, including research and study proposals, along with a well-developed personal statement that summarizes the applicant’s background, academic and professional achievements, core values and future goals.

“It can be a challenging process. Most people never have to set down in such clear terms who they believe they are and what they hope to achieve in life,” Mox said.

Despite the rigor and difficulty of the application process, most nominees find the process rewarding, regardless of the final outcome.

“I cannot overstate the value of taking the time to articulate your own life goals and vision for the future,” Mox said. “No matter the outcome, these nominees have grown and benefitted from the application process.”      

Once the students are officially nominated, their applications are forwarded to the national selection committees for each fellowship. If selected as finalists, the nominees will be invited to interviews by regional selection panels. The Marshall Scholarship selects approximately 40 scholars per year, while the Rhodes Scholarship selects 32 American recipients per year — two per district.

Each program provides similar and significant benefits. In addition to full financial support for travel, tuition and living expenses, the Marshall and Rhodes scholarships provide leadership development and cross-cultural engagement opportunities, along with the advantage of a world-class peer network.

The programs differ in terms of mission, however. Named in honor of the Marshall Plan, the Marshall Scholarship seeks to maintain the “special relationship” between the U.S. and U.K., and therefore closely evaluates the potential of each candidate to be an effective ambassador. The Marshall Scholarship program also encourages its recipients to engage deeply with British culture and society during their studies.

The Rhodes Scholarship, named for financier and statesman Cecil Rhodes, has a more global focus. In addition to the 32 American students, it also invites 78 other scholars from around the world to the cohort, including students from several African countries, the Caribbean, Germany, China and Australia. The hope is that this international cohort will, over their careers, collaborate to address global issues.

The tremendous labor involved in applications has paid off in recent years for ASU. Over the past 10 years, five ASU graduates have been awarded Marshall Scholarships and three have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships. In total, 20 ASU graduates have won Marshall Scholarships since the program’s inception in 1954, while eight have received the Rhodes Scholarship.

Meet the nominees:

Portrait of ASU student Flannery Lindeman.

Senior Flannery Lindeman (pictured at left) is a graduate of Tucson High School.

She will graduate ASU in May 2024 with bachelor’s degrees in global studies and history, and a certificate in political history and leadership, with honors from Barrett, The Honors College.

During her yearlong study abroad at American University in Rome, Italy, she served as project director for MIRA, an international nonprofit organization that supports refugees.

If awarded the Marshall Scholarship, Lindeman will pursue an MSc in ancient history at Edinburgh University, and if she is awarded the Rhodes Scholarship, she will pursue a master’s degree in Greek and Roman history, followed by a degree in migration studies.

In the future, she hopes to work for an international NGO that specializes in migration and refugee relief.

Portrait of ASU student Kadison Willis.

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Kadison Willis (pictured at left) graduated from the Regents School of Austin.

She will graduate from ASU in December 2023 with bachelor’s degrees in sustainability and mass communication and media studies, along with a minor in political science.

While at ASU, she served as president of the Online Student Government Advocacy Group and recently completed an internship with the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

If awarded the Marshall Scholarship, Willis will pursue a master’s degree in nature, society and environmental governance at the University of Oxford.

In the future, she plans to work in broad-scale environmental justice policy implementation, either with the U.S. government or the United Nations.

She is the first digital immersion student to be nominated by ASU for the Marshall Scholarship.

Portrait of ASU student Jordan Miller.

Senior Jordan Miller (pictured at left) hails from Scottsdale and will graduate from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in economics, with minors in political science and philosophy, as well as honors from Barrett Honors College.

While at ASU, Miller has worked as a research assistant, as an intern for Rep. Greg Stanton, and founded a nonprofit organization, New Future Project, which advises municipalities on green policies. Miller also serves as president of New Future Project.

If awarded the Marshall Scholarship, Miller will pursue an MSc in environmental economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

In the long term, he plans to work for the U.S. government on climate trade issues.

portrait of ASU alum Danielle Brister.

Alumna Danielle Brister (pictured at left) is from Phoenix and graduated from Chaparral High School.

She graduated from ASU in May 2022 with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, biological sciences and global health, with honors from Barrett Honors College.

She is currently in her second year of a master’s program in global health at National Taiwan University, funded by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

If awarded the Marshall Scholarship, she will pursue a doctoral degree in clinical neurosciences at the University of Cambridge, after which she intends to attend medical school and pursue a career with the National Institutes of Health, where she hopes to conduct research on pediatric neurological diseases.

Portrait of ASU alum Madisyn GoodBallet.

Madisyn GoodBallet (pictured at left) is from Gilbert and attended both Highland High School and Hamilton High School. She graduated from ASU in December 2022 with bachelor’s degrees in political science, civic and economic thought and leadership, history and global studies.

She previously studied Turkish in Azerbaijan as a Boren Scholar and spent a semester at the University of Ottawa as a Killam Fellow. 

GoodBallet currently works as a policy analyst for Booz Allen Hamilton, and if awarded a Marshall Scholarship, she will study for an MA in international peace and security at King’s College London.

In the long term, she hopes to pursue a career with the U.S. State Department, working to create policies that protect civilians from civil conflicts.

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