Two winners of prestigious 2016 Marshall Scholarships hail from USC Dornsife
USC Dornsife senior Moriah Mulroe and alumna Anu Ramachandran ’13 are the recipients of a coveted 2016 Marshall Scholarship to pursue graduate study in the United Kingdom.

Two winners of prestigious 2016 Marshall Scholarships hail from USC Dornsife

USC Dornsife claims two of the year’s 32 awardees as well as two top finalists. Marshall Scholars receive two fully funded years of graduate study in the United Kingdom.
ByLaura Paisley

USC Dornsife biochemistry and geological sciences major Moriah Mulroe, a senior, and USC Dornsife alumna Anu Ramachandran ’13 have each been awarded a 2016 Marshall Scholarship. They are the latest of 11 Trojans to win the scholarship since 1969.

The highly competitive honor is conferred by the United Kingdom’s government to provide outstanding American university students with the opportunity to pursue fully funded graduate degrees at top British universities.

Mulroe and Ramachandran — the first USC Dornsife women to garner the coveted award — are part of a cohort of 32 Marshall Scholarship recipients for 2016. Winners were selected based on their extraordinary academic achievement, demonstration of leadership potential and ability to serve as future ambassadors for U.K.-U.S. relations.

Mulroe will spend a year exploring interdisciplinary approaches to studying water resource issues at Queen Mary University of London and a second year studying geochemistry.

“Moriah is one of our most talented Trojans and we are very proud of her accomplishments,” Vice Provost for Undergraduate Programs Gene Bickers said. “We wish her well in her studies at Queen Mary University of London.” 

Erica Lovano McCann, director of academic honors and fellowships at USC, praised Mulroe’s scholarship and character.

“Moriah’s intellectual curiosity and deep commitment to advocacy are at the heart of all she does. Her accomplishments are many, but she remains a tremendous example of humility. She will surely represent the Trojan Family well in the U.K.”

Ramachandran will take a year off from medical school to study public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“Having earned both the Steven and Kathryn Sample Renaissance Scholar distinction and Global Scholar prize winner distinction, Anu left an impressive legacy at USC,” Lovano McCann said. “Her Global Scholar Capstone Project was unanimously selected as a winner of one of ten $10,000 prizes awarded in 2013.”

Not just another day in the lab

Mulroe got the call about her Marshall Scholarship win while working in the chemistry lab.

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Senior Moriah Mulroe will spend a year studying water resource issues at Queen Mary University of London followed by another year of study at a university of her choosing. Photo by Mira Zimet.

“I was initially shocked, then very excited. It was a lot of emotions all at once,” she said. “I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity and excited to undertake this adventure.”

Originally from Arlington Heights, Ill., Mulroe almost didn’t apply to USC in light of its distance from her home, but her mother encouraged her to “just give it a shot,” Mulroe said. Her application led to an invitation for a scholarship interview and ultimately four years of paid tuition through a Mork Family Scholarship.

“John and Julie Mork are wonderful people — I truly would not be here without them,” she said.

At USC Dornsife, Mulroe said, she has benefitted greatly from the mentorship of Hanna Reisler, Lloyd Armstrong Jr. Chair for Science and Engineering and professor of chemistry.

“I’ve worked in her lab since freshman year and Dr. Reisler has always provided me with the best advice and many opportunities. I remain grateful to her for serving as a strong role model for me and all women in the field of chemistry.”

The social side of science

Indeed, Mulroe has been interested in the sciences from a very young age, although her parents both work in social services. Her mother is a social worker at a church and her father runs a homeless shelter in Chicago.

“They definitely influenced me in that they said, ‘Go for whatever interests you, but make sure that you always have a goal in mind and are helping other people.’”

Erin Quinn, associate dean for science and health, recommended Mulroe to the scholarship selection committee. Quinn also leads a month-long Problems Without Passports (PWP) course at the University of Oxford called “The Biology of Health from a Global Perspective.” In 2013, Mulroe participated in the class, doing a project on natural disaster health management.

“Moriah is an amazing scholar, with an incredible, quick mind,” Quinn said. “In addition, she is one of the kindest and most considerate individuals that I have known. She loves to learn the most complex, complicated material, and then she has the patience and ability to communicate her knowledge in an understated language that others can understand. This is a special gift that Moriah has.”

In the future, Mulroe sees herself working in a governmental role in natural disaster management or for a nongovernmental organization. “I’m a very applied thinker, so I think that would be a great role for me.”

Seeking the bigger picture

Now in her third year of medical school at Johns Hopkins University, Ramachandran is passionate about international health and health policy. The San Jose, Calif., native was a Trustee Scholar at USC Dornsife and she majored in neuroscience and philosophy. She founded USC’s chapter of GlobeMed, a student activism and fundraising organization that pairs students with international NGOs. She traveled to Brazil with a PWP course and led HIV education in Tanzania through a campus-organized service-learning program.

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USC Dornsife alumna Anu Ramachandran ’13 will study public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Photo courtesy of Anu Ramachandran.

At Johns Hopkins, Ramachandran has served as director of the student-run Refugee Health Partners, which works with the International Rescue Committee of Baltimore to aid newly arrived refugees with chronic and complex medical conditions.

At the London School, Ramachandran plans to conduct research in the Public Health in Humanitarian Crisis Group led by Karl Blanchet. Her goal is to supplement her clinical background with a bigger picture of advocacy research and policy work around global health and refugee health. The London School is ideal for this kind of work, she said, with its connections to the World Health Organization and leaders of other big international health organizations.

“It’s incredible; I feel really lucky to get this award,” Ramachandran said. “So many people helped me along the way. Marshall has such a great network of exciting, motivated people in different parts of the world, and I’m really excited to plug into that network.

“I’m also very thankful to USC. I was able to do a lot of traveling with the resources and funds that were available, and that made a really big difference in helping me hone in on my interests.”

Other honors for Trojans

USC also recognizes the achievements of senior Georgia Soares and alumnus Travis Glynn ’13, both Marshall Scholarship finalists within the top 15 percent of nearly 1,000 applicants this year. 

Originally from Brazil, Soares is majoring in English with a focus on creative writing. She plans to pursue graduate study and a career contributing to Brazilian literature.

Glynn, a Truman Scholar and Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, graduated from USC Dornsife with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and now works as a special advisor at the U.S. Department of State.