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Nov. 21, 2007

Columbians Garner Top Academic Awards with Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships

Emma Kaufman

Emma Kaufman

Columbia College senior Emma Kaufman has received the Marshall Scholarship, a prestigious award that gives students the opportunity to study in the United Kingdom at any university of their choice.

“This is very exciting,” said Kaufman. “Quite honestly, I thought it would have been just worth it to have gone through the process, but when I got the call, I froze … I’m absolutely thrilled.”

A double major in philosophy and women and gender studies, Kaufman is interested in the relationship between gender, disenfranchisement and criminal justice. Earlier this year, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship for research in criminal justice and has since worked as a fellow at the Correctional Association of New York, where she interviews inmates, monitors prison conditions and advocates for reform in prisons across the state.

This is the second set of prestigious scholarships awarded to Columbians in the past week. On Nov. 17, seniors George C. Olive III and Jason Bello were named Rhodes Scholars. Olive also received the Marshall Scholarship.

As a Marshall scholar, Kaufman, 21, will pursue a master’s degree in criminology at the University of Oxford. Sixteen Columbians applied for the Marshall Scholarship this year and seven were finalists. Columbia had one Marshall Scholarship recipient last year.

“With her relentless intellectual curiosity, zeal in using her knowledge in the service of the powerless, and wonderful sense of humor, Emma will be a future leader in her chosen field,” said Michael Pippenger, associate dean of the office of fellowship programs at Columbia College. “We are proud to have her represent Columbia as a Marshall Scholar.”

Kaufman has worked as an intern at the Legal Aid Society, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States and Planned Parenthood. She also is the editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism. After Oxford, she hopes to attend law school, and eventually work in a government role crafting prison policy.

The Marshall Scholarship funds university and research fees, as well as cost of living expenses. Established in 1953 by the British government, the scholarships were created as a gesture of thanks to the U.S. for its assistance in rebuilding Europe after World War II. Named for then Secretary of State George C. Marshall who proposed the Marshall Plan in 1947, the award has given more than 1,400 students the opportunity to study in Great Britain.

Story by Melanie Farmer.