Morgan King has been awarded a Marshall Scholarship, one of the country’s top awards, to study in the United Kingdom.
This is a highly competitive scholarship. King is one of 48 students to be selected from a pool of more than 1,000 applications from across the United States. She is the third West Virginia University graduate to achieve this award.
“West Virginia University has a great tradition of competing for nationally prestigious scholarships. Morgan is the latest Mountaineer to make this challenging climb, and we are very proud of her and her accomplishment,” President Gordon Gee said. “She exemplifies our students’ strong commitment to excellence in academics, leadership and service.”
The Marshall Scholarship was created by an Act of Parliament to honor U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, the architect of the rebuilding of Western Europe after World War II. The British Government principally funds the program but also benefits from generous support from the country’s leading academic institutions. The scholarship enables intellectually distinguished young Americans to do graduate work at any university they choose in the U.K.
In September 2019, King will enroll in University College London where she will earn two master’s degrees. The first is a master of science in environmental systems engineering and the second is a master of public administration in science, engineering and public policy.
“I am pursuing public service, because I believe in the potential of government to benefit society and make a difference in the lives of its citizens,” King said. “My goal is to work for the U.S. government, possibly the Department of State, and ultimately return to serve my home state of West Virginia.”
The Charleston native sees the parallel between the rise and collapse of the coal empires in Appalachia and the United Kingdom, despite opposite approaches to the coal industry by American and British governments. With an eye to the issues in West Virginia, she plans to learn more about the nexus between water and energy and the impact of the coal industry on water in Britain.
She’s also looking forward to experiencing British culture and exploring her family roots in Wales. “The cultural and industrial connection between Appalachia and the U.K. is incredibly fascinating to me,” she said.
King graduated from WVU in May with a degree in civil engineering from the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and a minor in international and comparative politics. She was also a student in the Honors College.
“This news is exciting for Morgan and for WVU,” said Lisa Di Bartolomeo, faculty advisor and one of WVU’s two previous Marshall Scholar winners. “She is an exceptional young scholar with a strong commitment to making the world a better place, not only through her engineering studies, but also through her interdisciplinary work in social sciences and the humanities. Morgan bridges the gap among those fields in a way that will enable her to make important contributions to policy and thought. The Marshall Scholarship will provide her with an important platform and global perspective from which to begin her work.”
In addition to excelling academically, she was active with Engineers without Borders both internationally and in West Virginia where she led a workshop on water access inequities and she lobbied the West Virginia State Legislature to safeguard the state’s water. She has also been a strong advocate for women in science, technology, engineering and math.
“As a female engineering student, I recognize there is not an adequate representation of female or STEM perspectives in decision making, which must change,” King said.
Her resume reflects her background in science and her passion for diplomacy. She had an internship at the U.S. Department of State and is currently teaching in Spain on a Fulbright Scholarship. She credits the supportive faculty and staff at WVU for giving her so many diverse opportunities.
“I am so grateful for my experience at WVU,” King said. “The encouragement I received from many departments to pursue my passions was something that I don’t believe I could have had at another university. The support of the staff at the ASPIRE office was incredible.”
“The next generation of American leaders – exemplified in the 2019 Marshall Scholar class – will play an important role in strengthening the ties between the United Kingdom and the United States.” said Dr. Nell Breyer, executive director of the Association of Marshall Scholars. “The AMS is proud to welcome 48 outstanding individuals to the generations of Marshall Scholars committed to advancing knowledge, international understanding and prosperity of our two nations.”
The ASPIRE Office prepares students who want to compete for nationally competitive scholarships like these. Students who are interested in applying can email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an appointment.