Four from Yale Named Marshall Scholarship Winners

Two current Yale students, Jennifer Nou and Shanya Strom, and two recent alumni, Zachary Kaufman and Krishanti Vignarajah, have been named winners of the prestigious Marshall Scholarship for study in a British university.

Kaufman, of Morgantown, West Virginia, has been working at the United States Department of Justice since his graduation from Yale in 2000. As program analyst for the Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training division of the Justice Department, he has played significant roles in the field of international relations. He has served as solo representative in Rwanda to assess the Department of Justice’s assistance program there and has briefed such agencies and officials as President Bush, the National Security Council, the FBI and the CIA on matters of international law enforcement. At Yale, Kaufman was president of the Student Body, 1998-99, and he was the author of two successful proposals to reform the University’s financial aid system. A 1998 National Team Champion of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association, Kaufman was co-captain of the Yale Wrestling team, 1999-2000, and founded a wrestling program for New Haven youth. Kaufman will study international relations at Oxford.

A native of Sri Lanka, Vignarajah grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and currently lives in Peru. Since graduating from Yale last May, she has been working with Horizon International, an organization promoting development efforts in South America. At Yale she majored in political science and molecular, cellular and developmental biology, earning a masters degree as well as bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. Among her extracurricular activities, Vignarajah was the founder and co-coordinator of an organization to promote health care opportunities, captain of the junior varsity tennis team and vice-president of both the Yale College Mock Trial Association and the Yale Debate Association. For two years she served as the executive editor of the Yale Journal of Ethics, and in 1998 she was the treasurer of Yale Amnesty International. She lists as her personal activities Indian classical dance, orchestral chamber music and running. She will pursue a program in development studies at Oxford.

As the winner of a 2001 Truman Scholarship in her junior year, Nou, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has already been recognized as an outstanding student with exceptional leadership potential in public service. She is outreach coordinator of the Yale Women’s Center, former vice president of the Yale College Mock Trial Association and founder of End Domestic Violence, a service group working on behalf of battered women. She has also served as the coordinator of a children’s social service agency in New Haven, and as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul and in the office of Senator Paul Wellstone. The president of the Yale chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, she is majoring in political science and economics and plans to use her Marshall Scholarship to study politics at Oxford.

Strom, who is from Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, will use her Marshall Scholarship to study human geography at Cambridge. She will graduate from Yale with a degree in Ethics, Politics and Economics. With a strong interest in urban issues, she was a founder of Yale’s Ad-hoc Poverty Policy Organization and, in conjunction with a city alderman, has taught students about New Haven and poverty policy through community sensitivity training and advocacy. In 2000 she was the co-coordinator of Dwight Hall, the umbrella organization for volunteer activities at Yale. An accomplished flutist, she also sings with the Yale College Opera Company.

The Marshall Scholarship winners for 2002 were announced on December 5 by the British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Christopher Meyer. With four of the 40 scholarship winners, Yale shares with the U.S. Military Academy and Princeton the distinction of being most highly represented on the list of this year’s honorees. Among other institutions on this year’s list of Marshall scholars are Harvard, with two awardees; and Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Stanford,Wellesley, Tufts and Amherst, with one each.

The Marshall Scholarships were established in 1953 as a British gesture of thanks to the people of the United States for the assistance received after the Second World War under the Marshall Plan. Financed by the British Government, the highly competitive scholarships provide an opportunity for American students who have demonstrated academic excellence to continue their studies for two to three years at the British University of their choice. The Scholarships are worth about $50,000 each. In addition to intellectual distinction, Marshall selectors look out for individuals likely to become leaders in their field and make a contribution to society.

Over a thousand young Americans have been awarded Marshall Scholarships since the program’s inception. Prominent past Marshall Scholars include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer; Duke University president (and former Wellesley president) Nannerl Keohane; Providence psychiatrist Peter Kramer (“Listening to Prozac”); and Pulitzer Prize winning authors Thomas Friedman of the New York Times and Dan Yergin (“The Prize”); Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan; and noted inventor Ray Dolby. Since 1983-the first year for which records are available-students from Yale, including this year’s winners, have won 41 Marshall Scholarships.

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