Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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McCormick grad awarded British scholarship

Matthew Harsh, McCormick ’01, has received one of 40 British Marshall Scholarships worth $50,000 for his research and involvement while at Northwestern.

Harsh wrote two essays to apply: one describing his senior honors research project, an attempt to replicate the steel-making process used in Damascus blade swords, and one about why he wants to study at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in the fall.

In discussing his research, the former Mayfest chairman wrote about social issues surrounding technology, drawing on issues ranging from cloning and stem cell research to his leadership experience with Alternative Spring Break.

Harsh chose to enroll at Edinburgh’s one-year science and technology studies program because the interdisciplinary curriculum combines his passions for technology and social justice.

“I’m huge into technology,” Harsh said. “I’m such a dork. I love computers and technology and gadgets.”

Harsh will spend his first six months in the classroom and the next six months conducting research. Since the scholarship provides two years of funding, he also will spend his second year performing research with a policy institute in the United Kingdom. Harsh said he would pursue both master’s and doctoral degrees if he receives a third year of funding.

After he completes his overseas studies, Harsh said he may return to the Kellogg Graduate School of Management to complete the Honors Program in Engineering and Management. Eventually, Harsh wants to create a non-governmental organization with his friends.

More than 800 students nationwide applied for 40 Marshall scholarships. To make it to the final interview, Harsh said he revised his essay continuously.

Only eight NU students applied for the scholarships, illustrating the self-selectivity of the British scholarship programs, said Sara Anson Vaux, director of the Office of Fellowships. After an interview with the campus selection committee, the committee forwards the names of its strongest candidates to one of eight regions.

“He’s a brilliant thinker,” Vaux said of Harsh. “His civic commitment and research work was of the highest quality. He’s the type of person that could change the world.”

In November, each region calls 20 applicants for a final interview before naming the winners.

Harsh said the final interview was one of the most intense experiences of his life.

“The interview went so poorly,” Harsh said. “They take you to the point where they break you and see how you react under stress. I left with my head down.”

Six NU students have been awarded Marshall Scholarships since the Office of Fellowships was created in 1998, and at least two more received them previously.

The Office of Fellowships will hold a meeting Feb. 20 for students interested in applying for British scholarships including the Marshall.

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
McCormick grad awarded British scholarship