College of LAS « Illinois

LAS student named Marshall Scholar

Leah Matchett will study in the United Kingdom

U. of I. student Leah Matchett, majoring in global studies and geology, is one of more than 30 students from the United States selected as Marshall Scholars for postgraduate study at a university in the United Kingdom. Photo by Sara Helwink.
U. of I. student Leah Matchett, majoring in global studies and geology, is one of more than 30 students from the United States selected as Marshall Scholars for postgraduate study at a university in the United Kingdom. Photo by Sara Helwink.

A student in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences who has presented her award-winning research on statistical climate change modeling to Illinois legislators has been named a prestigious Marshall Scholar, for postgraduate study in the United Kingdom.

Leah Matchett, a senior from Grand Haven, Mich., pursuing a double major in global studies and geology, is one of more than 30 students from the United States selected as Marshall Scholars. She is the fourth University of Illinois student in the last six years awarded the Marshall Scholarship, and the first LAS student since 2010.

She plans to earn a doctoral degree in international relations at the University of Oxford. Her future goals include returning to the U.S. to continue her work on nuclear security issues, either within the federal government or with a nonproliferation-related think tank.

Prior to enrolling at Illinois, Matchett spent a year in Taiwan as a Rotary Exchange Student. She spent her undergraduate career at Illinois acquiring the technical and political expertise needed for a career in diplomacy focusing on international security.

While a student at Illinois, Matchett worked with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation in Washington, D.C., where she applied her expertise in nuclear nonproliferation issues as a co-author of an article for State magazine on securing chemical weapons in Libya.

Matchett also served as an environmental science intern for the U.S. Consulate in China, where she published a brochure analyzing air quality in China. She worked the past two years with the U.S. Geological Survey in the Department of the Interior, serving as lead author for a journal submission that quantifies how stream restorations lower nitrate loads.

Matchett is a James Scholar honors student in LAS. In addition to presenting her research to Illinois legislators, she has testified at the Illinois Capitol regarding proposed budget cuts in higher education. She is a teaching assistant and founded a pre-professional security studies student group to help fellow students to pursue federal service opportunities in the national security realm.

Steve Witmer, Illinois News Bureau
12/1/2015

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