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BC Graduate Wins Marshall Scholarship

Aditya Ashok '12 (Photo by Sean Smith)

By Jack Dunn | Director of News & Public Affairs

Published: Nov. 29, 2012

Aditya Ashok ’12, who won a Harry S Truman Scholarship for public service in 2011, has been named a recipient of the prestigious George Marshall Scholarship for graduate study in the United Kingdom, one of only 40 students to win the coveted award this year.

Marshall Scholarships, funded by the British government in honor of former US Secretary of State George C. Marshall, are awarded to American students of the highest academic ability based on their distinction in intellect and character, as evidenced by scholarly achievement, outstanding activities and leadership.

“I am pleased to win the Marshall Scholarship, which will provide me with an opportunity to better understand health disparities that exist between the United States and the UK,” said Ashok, who will study global health at the University of Glasgow beginning in August of 2013. “The Marshall Committee and my fellow Marshall Scholars are inspiring; I know I can learn so much from them, particularly by studying in Glasgow, which is infamous for health disparities that are replicated only in the United States.”

The award is the fourth Marshall Scholarship won by Boston College students in the past decade, coinciding with two Rhodes Scholarships, two Mellon Scholarships, one Churchill scholarship, six Truman Scholarships, nine Goldwater Scholarships, 15 Beckman Scholarships and 173 undergraduate Fulbright awards, among other prestigious awards that BC students have earned between 2002 and 2012.

 “The George Marshall Scholarship is a mark of national distinction, given that so few are awarded annually in the United States,” said Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs Donald Hafner, who directs the University Fellowships Committee. “The awards are highly competitive, and Adi’s success underscores not only the caliber and dedication of BC undergraduates, but also Boston College’s commitment to helping qualified students pursue these valuable opportunities.”

A Presidential Scholar, and history and biology major while at Boston College, Ashok distinguished himself through his academic achievement and HIV/AIDS activism, serving as co-president of the AIDS Awareness Committee at Boston College, and director of international outreach at the Virginia-based Teen AIDS-Peer Corp.

During his years at BC, Ashok also served as a columnist for the independent student newspaper, The Heights, science editor for the student research journal Elements, and co-coordinator of the Mendel Society Mentoring Program, while also working as an intern at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and as a volunteer at Rosie’s Place and the Laboure Center in South Boston. 

After graduating in May, he served a three-month internship at the White House in the Office of National AIDS Policy, and has spent the fall working at the National Human Genome Research Institute and participating in one of the National Institutes of Health’s health disparities programs.

Founders Professor of Theology and Presidential Scholars Program Director James F. Keenan, SJ, who worked closely with Ashok throughout the application process, praised him for his unwavering commitment to helping those in need.

“Adi lives a profound human sympathy for those who are vulnerable, tries to find out where and how he can best use his talents to respond to human challenges, and thinks very strategically,” said Fr. Keenan. “He has developed his many, wide-ranging gifts in thoroughly impressive ways with confidence, care and commitment. I am proud of him for winning the Marshall Scholarship, and am sure he will be among BC’s most accomplished and dedicated alumni.”      

Ashok says he aspires to career in public service, a passion that was ignited during his four years at Boston College. “Boston College played a major role in shaping how my interests developed.  I came to BC to focus on HIV/AIDS, and the mentors I had, such as Fr. Keenan and Associate Professor of History Virginia Reinburg, had the patience to help me find my calling. Without them and the support I received from Boston College, I would not have had an opportunity to win the Truman or the Marshall scholarships.”