USC Dornsife political science major Alexander Fullman has been awarded a Marshall Scholarship, one of the most coveted honors an American undergraduate can receive. He is planning to attend the University of Oxford next Fall to earn a master of philosophy in comparative government.
Fullman, 22, a senior with a minor in communication law and media policy in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, won the highly competitive award for his outstanding academic accomplishments, leadership ability and demonstrated commitment to public service.
"Alex is one of the most intelligent, imaginative, dedicated and ambitious students I have ever taught — at the undergraduate level or in law school,” said USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett who provided a recommendation for the award.
“I am looking forward to the results of his study in the U.K., as he focuses on a comparative analysis of the campaign finance structures in both countries. He is attuned to the complex interactions of political players in this realm, and he is comfortable exploring new ideas in this challenging jurisprudential and policy landscape,” Garrett added. “These skills, together with his curiosity, intellect and energy, will serve him well at Oxford, and later in his career which is very likely to include roles in public policy."
A native Angeleno, Fullman also received recommendations for the Marshall Scholarship from two professors of political science in USC Dornsife, Ann Crigler and Alison Dundes Renteln, and from Michael Cody, professor in USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He is a graduate of Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City, Calif.
“I was very surprised and of course very honored,” Fullman said of winning the scholarship. “I am grateful for the support of so many people throughout the university and my family and friends. I’ve benefited from the extraordinary education, opportunities and rich intellectual environment offered by the university and I’ve been lucky to have some amazing professors and mentors, chief among them professors Elizabeth Garrett and Alison Renteln.”
The Marshall scholarships were established by the British government in 1953 to thank the United States for assistance received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. A maximum of 40 scholarships are awarded each year to U.S. students to provide two fully funded years of graduate study, with a possible third year extension, at any accredited university in the United Kingdom.
“Becoming a Marshall Scholar gives me an incredible opportunity to explore the United Kingdom and study at one of the world’s great universities,” Fullman said. “It also provides a very exciting opportunity from a law and political science standpoint to study in a country that laid the foundation for the American system of government, which was a reaction to and against the British system.”
At Oxford, Fullman plans to combine his interest in election law and campaign finance structures with his experience in comparative analysis to study the electoral systems of the United Kingdom and the U.S. His research will examine the different campaign finance systems in each country and the impact of each system on egalitarian and anti-corruption interests. He also plans to examine disclosure statutes and the impact of social media on elections in each country.
Fullman became the eighth USC student to become a Marshall Scholar since the first Trojan was awarded the honor in 1969. Other USC students named as Marshall Scholars in recent years are Colin Koproske (2007), David Chacko (2004), Nilay Vora (2004), Paul Miller (2002) and Jacob Chacko (2000). All are graduates of USC Dornsife, with Chacko a double major in USC Dornsife and the USC Davis School of Gerontology.
“The selection process for the Marshall Scholarships is rigorous,” said Noosha Malek, director of academic and international fellowships at USC. “I am tremendously pleased that Alex earned this level of recognition for his achievements.
“My colleagues and I believe that he has a brilliant future ahead of him in the field of political science,” Malek added. “Oxford will be the perfect place for him to study comparative government, and I am certain that Alex’s experience as a Marshall Scholar will profoundly influence his career path, as well as contribute to improved understanding of British-American relations.”
From the outset of his freshman year, Fullman designed a challenging program of study to prepare for a career in public service as a practitioner and professor of law. He plans to attend law school upon completing his studies abroad as a Marshall Scholar.
In recognition of his work in political science, he was selected by the university in 2011 to participate in the Presidential Fellows Program at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. His year-long fellowship research project concerned the landmark Supreme Court campaign finance case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and his paper was one of 20 selected for publication in The Fellows Review. His research has also been published in the Washington Undergraduate Law Review.
As a student leader, Fullman revived the USC Journal of Law and Society and served as its editor-in-chief. He also served as president of the Blackstonians Pre-Law Honor Society based in USC Dornsife and vice president for the USC Hillel Center for Jewish Life. In addition, he has served as the undergraduate representative on the USC Honorary Degrees Committee and the USC Strategic Planning Committee for Undergraduate Education. He has demonstrated concern for global communities as a University Fellow for Jewish World Watch, an organization that spreads awareness of genocide and mass atrocities.
“Alex has traveled to all seven continents,” Malek said. “From his travels he has developed cultural literacy and global awareness that will provide a valuable perspective he can bring to his ambassadorial role as a Marshall Scholar.”
Fullman, a Trustee Scholar, is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Mortar Board National Honor Society, and the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science National Honor Society. “Receiving the award was overwhelming,” said Fullman, who has a 4.0 grade point average. “It’s really a great honor, and I’m looking forward to the journey ahead.”