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    Great Britain Awards Christopher Macklin Prestigious Marshall Scholarship
    by Betty Gabrielli

February 26, 2004
Christopher Macklin
Senior Christopher Macklin, a triple major from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a member of an elite group of students awarded one of the highest accolades a U.S. undergraduate can earn, Great Britain's Marshall Scholarship.

Won through a rigorous national competition, the scholarship supports American students who have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership potential. This year more than 1,000 applicants vied for the coveted places, which are worth approximately $60,000 over two years of study at a university in the United Kingdom. The award, financed by the British government, covers tuition costs, books, travel and living expenses.

Macklin is one of three Oberlin students to win a Marshall Scholarship since 1990. He also is a 2003 Goldwater Scholar and Wilkins Scholar, a 2000-2004 John Frederick Oberlin Scholar and Robert C. Byrd Scholar, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Macklin says "a deep awe of the capacities of the human brain" has been the driving force in his academic career. As a student and a teaching assistant at Oberlin, he has explored questions as disparate as parent-child relations, own-face recognition, and the patterning of neuronal firing in pond snails.

During summer stints in neuroscience at the University of New Mexico he has tracked cellular changes in people who have Down's Syndrome or schizophrenia.

This May he will graduate with majors in neuroscience, psychology, and biology. He plans to study at University College in London, where he will explore how experience—and the resulting memories—changes the brain at the cellular and behavioral level.

"I never dreamed my graduate school search would end in such an exciting way," Macklin says. "I am deeply honored to receive this award and thrilled I will be studying at a school so well suited to my scientific and aesthetic interests."

Among the latter is early music. A founding member and organizer of the vocal quintet Uncloistered, a student group specializing in Renaissance polyphony, Macklin says he is looking forward to immersing himself in the United Kingdom's celebrated choral tradition.

The scholarship is named in honor of American soldier-statesman George C. Marshall, who devised the post-WWII European Recovery Program (the "Marshall Plan"). Great Britain established the scholarship in 1953 as an expression of thanks to the United States for aid received under the plan.

The intent is to allow the scholars, who are the potential leaders, opinion-formers and decision-makers, to gain an understanding and appreciation of British values and the British way of life and to establish long-lasting ties between the peoples of Britain and the United States.

Prominent former Marshall Scholars include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman, and scientist/inventor Ray Dolby. More than 1,000 young Americans have been awarded Marshall Scholarships since the program began.
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