Stacey Kowal Named Marshall Scholar
Prestigious award is her fourth national scholarship
Stacey Kowal, an Alma College senior from Rochester, has been selected to receive a 2005 Marshall Scholarship that pays for two years of postgraduate study in any academic discipline at a university in the United Kingdom.
The opportunity comes after a highly successful year during which Kowal received Truman and Udall scholarships worth $31,000 for academic expenses. She won a $5,000 Udall Scholarship in her sophomore year.
"I went into the process hoping with all of my heart that I would win and now I am still in shock," Kowal said. "I know that the rest of my life will forever be different."
Kowal says her experience at Alma College has defined her future. "Alma College has been positively integral in ensuring my success. Alma does in fact offer a liberal arts education - a way of instilling knowledge beyond academic guidelines and core curriculum. My courses, research and relationships with professors all worked to teach me how to lead, how to use my abilities to make a difference, how to have courage in my convictions, and how to reach goals that I thought were far beyond my abilities."
Dr. Ed Lorenz, Reid-Knox Professor of History and professor of political science, advised Kowal on her Udall scholarships and has insight to her success. "Stacey is a very good student made much better by the interdisciplinary opportunities that Alma is so good at offering," Lorenz said. "She is an amazing kid - a Math major with an applied interest in environmental health. That's a potent combination. The world needs few math majors. It needs few history majors. What it needs are people with general excellent education who can apply, in Stacey's case, math to health data and understand both mathematically and biologically what the results mean."
Kowal plans to pursue her master's degree from the London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine. The Marshall Scholarship pays tuition fees at the London School, cost of living expenses, annual book grant, thesis grant, research and daily travel grants, and travel fares to and from the United States.
Once she receives her master's degree, she intends to apply to Johns Hopkins medical school where she can collaborate with the Bloomberg School of Public Health to gain opportunities in international public health research.
After a residency in community or rural health, she wants to join the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), a two-year postgraduate program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program trains doctors, medical scientists, biostatisticians, and other specialists in the investigation and solution methods in international and domestic epidemiologic public health emergencies.
Following her extensive training, Kowal plans to work for the World Health Organization (WHO) focusing on the implementation and design of international health policy at the country level. After four to six years of fieldwork she plans to pursue a policy-making position at the WHO.
The award attests to the efforts Alma College has put into identifying and preparing students of high academic caliber capable of engaging societal and environmental issues on a global scale.
Alma's Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Selmon says the College works hard to educate the students who will be the next leaders of our communities, our nation and our world.
"Stacy's award is clearly a measure of the quality of her achievements, in that sense it is unique. But it is also a reflection of the quality of the education she has had at Alma, and of the opportunities that she has had in her years here to apply her expertise in ways that have made a difference in the world. That sort of education, and a similar set of opportunities, are available to all of our students," Selmon said. "Historically, the Marshall winners have come from the finest universities and colleges in the nation. This is a signal honor, and Stacy's selection is testament to the quality of her overall academic achievement. The Marshall emphasizes the importance of independent intellect and wide-ranging interests; the award in part is a tribute to the way that she has engaged herself with environmental and health issues on a local, national, and international basis."
Kowal, the daughter of Garry and Karen Kowal and a 2000 graduate of Almont High School, has received recognition for conducting epidemiological research on the effects of toxic pollutants in Gratiot County on human and animal populations. Currently she is serving two internships in Lansing for community health agencies.
During Alma's 2005 Winter Term, she will study at the University of Westminster in London. She is interested in applying biostatistics methods to evaluate ways of identifying the impacts of contamination and evaluate the efficacy of remediation approaches.
Using an Alma College Currie Scholarship in 2003, she attempted a retrospective health study of Velsicol Chemical Company workers in Gratiot County after the 1973 PBB contamination. After several roadblocks, her project turned into an extensive literature review and partnership-forming process to gain support from medical institutions while expanding institutional knowledge of the contamination.
She performed graduate-level biostatistics research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003 with a Biostatistics Training Fellowship funded by the National Science Foundation. She also has studied environmental health in Brazil.
As president of Students United for Nature, she was instrumental in initiating a volunteer recycling program at Alma College and integrated her math major and public health minor into other environmental projects.
Since 1997 with help from Alma's Nationally Competitive Scholarship Committee, the College has had 44 winners, finalists, semi-finalists and alternates for top national scholarships. The 21 scholarships awarded totaled approximately $700,000.
Established in 1953, the Marshall Scholarships, named in honor of U.S. Secretary of State General George C. Marshall, are an expression of Britain's gratitude for economic assistance received through the Marshall Plan after World War II. Funded by the British government and administered by the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission, the Marshall Scholarship program has become the largest single program for Americans studying in Britain, and one of the most prestigious.
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Posted: Mon, December 13th, 2004 at 8:47AM