BC Graduate Awarded Grant For Study In UK
Published: Monday, December 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Every year, the Marshall Selection Committee chooses approximately 40 American students for two years of funded postgraduate study in the United Kingdom at the university of their choice. This year, Aditya Ashok, a history and biology major and BC ’12, has been selected as a recipient of the George Marshall Scholarship.
Established by the Parliament of the UK in 1953, the scholarship was created to recognize the efforts of the United States in the reconstruction of Europe post-World War II through the Marshall Plan. The objectives of the program are to enable intellectually accomplished Americans to study in the UK, to facilitate an understanding of Great Britain, and to inspire scholars to serve as ambassadors from the U.S. to the UK. The scholars are chosen based on their academic achievement, involvement in extracurricular activities, and leadership in their campus communities.
A recipient of the Harry S. Truman scholarship for public service in 2011, Ashok has been actively working on public health issues since the beginning of his college career. Rev. James F. Keenan, S.J., Founders Professor of Theology and Director of the Presidential Scholars Program, guided Ashok, a Presidential Scholar, through the application process and saw his development over his four years at Boston College.
Commenting on Ashok’s work at BC, Keenan described “his uncanny capability of finding out where he can fit in and respond to people’s needs.” Ashok served on an AIDS awareness committee and raised awareness of the issue by bringing together dance and choral groups to do a show. He worked in the Teen AIDS-Peer Corp. and served as director of international outreach.
“Whenever he visited his mother in New Hampshire, he spent the weekend as a volunteer in the emergency room, just working the entire weekend there,” Keenan said. “This is a person who has a hands-on approach to reality.”
His work in the field of HIV/AIDS extended beyond intellectual pursuits, as Ashok also worked in the more personal aspects of the field. With Keenan, Ashok worked on a project to interview people who were HIV-positive in order to talk about the stigma that affected them. He is using these interviews to prepare an article for the Hastings Center, a prestigious bioethics research institute.
“On HIV alone, he developed his competency, his network, and became personally connected to the issue,” Keenan said. “That led him to other questions, such as access to health care. That is his new project, trying to find new models for better universal access to health care.”
In addition to his work on HIV/AIDS while at BC, Ashok also served as a columnist for The Heights, an editor of Elements, a student research journal, and a coordinator for the Mendel Society Mentoring Program. He was active as a volunteer off campus, working at Rosie’s Place, a women’s shelter in the South End, the Laboure Center, a Catholic Charities center in South Boston, and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua, N.H.
Speaking about Ashok, Keenan emphasized his generosity and selflessness. After working with him inside and outside the classroom, Keenan underscored Ashok’s ability as a mentor to other students.
“I know that I can tell a student to talk to Adi and he will give them good pointers,” Keenan said. “He is willing to share his knowledge with anyone who wants to apply.”
Over the summer, Ashok served as a fellow at the White House as one of five people working on the president’s agenda on HIV/AIDS. He also won a prestigious fellowship with the National Institute of Health. With his Marshall scholarship, Ashok plans to study global health and the disparities in health between the U.S. and the UK at the University of Glasgow beginning in August of 2013.