Alumni Profile: Kelcie Ralph, B.A. Economics

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

For alumna Kelcie Ralph, the choice to become a University Honors College student changed her life. In 2008, the Honors College nominated Kelcie for a Marshall Scholarship, an award recognized as among the most prestigious scholarships an American undergraduate can receive.

Kelcie RalphAs a 2009 Marshall Scholar, Kelcie was one of 40 U.S. students that received two fully funded years of study in the United Kingdom. "Receiving this award was the biggest change in my life. It changed my trajectory completely," she said.

Originally, Kelcie planned on furthering her education in the Lower 48 after graduating from UAA, but Honors College Dean Ronald Spatz encouraged her to consider applying for national scholarships. "I feel blessed that professors at UAA recognized my potential and were willing to help me develop into a successful applicant. I owe my graduate opportunities to my work with the Honors College and the Office of Undergraduate Research."

Kelcie decided to become an Honors College student during her freshman year. "The original decision was largely financial, but in the end the benefits were far greater than avoiding a bit of debt. I wouldn't change my decision for the world."

In 2009, Kelcie attended the London School of Economics earning a Master of Science in City Design and Social Science. She's currently at Cambridge University working on a Master of Philosophy in Environmental Policy.

Kelcie has always been interested in the motivations for human behavior, particularly as it relates to the environment and transportation. She's currently researching the new public bicycle rental facility in London. "Last year, the city introduced 300 new bicycle rental stations. I am looking at how that is impacting modal choice decisions whether people choose to ride the Underground or bike."

At UAA Kelcie completed undergraduate research, something that gave her confidence when she moved to the U.K. "A lot of my peers haven't done research before. The research I did at UAA was instrumental in my success here."

Kelcie graduates from Cambridge in July 2011, and is planning to attend a university back in the states to earn a Ph.D. in Transportation Policy. She eventually wants to become a professor at a university doing academic research in policy.

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