Prestigious Marshall Scholarship awarded to University Honors College student

By: Staff   Nov 25, 2008

Kelcie Ralph becomes first University of Alaska Anchorage student to receive this honor

ANCHORAGE, AK – Kelcie Ralph, University of Alaska Anchorage economics major and University Honors College student, learned last week that she is one of only 40 U.S. students named as a 2009 Marshall Scholar. The Marshall Scholarships, widely recognized as among the most prestigious awards an American undergraduate can receive, provide students with two fully funded years of study in the United Kingdom. Founded by a 1953 Act of Parliament, Marshall Scholarships commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan. They express the continuing gratitude of the British people to their American counterparts.

Students must be nominated by their undergraduate institution for the Marshall Scholarship. In order to be considered, applicants must evidence outstanding academics, research and leadership abilities, and the capacity to serve as an ambassador for relations between the United States and the United Kingdom. “Kelcie is a well-rounded, motivated person,” said Ronald Spatz, Dean of the University Honors College.  “In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Kelcie has assumed a leadership role at UAA in the area of sustainability and she has extended her undergraduate research activities to the benefit of the community. We are proud of Kelcie and this award; it shows what UAA students can accomplish.”

Former Marshall Scholars have included Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, Presidential Cabinet members, CEOs and Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners.

Similar to the Rhodes Scholarship, the Marshall Scholarship differs primarily in that it allows the student freedom to attend any UK university. “I would like to pursue my course of studies at the London School of Economics where I hope to enroll in the MSc Programs in City Design and Social Science, and Environmental Policy and Regulation,” said Kelcie.

A lifelong Alaskan, Kelcie’s undergraduate research has focused on issues of importance to our state. Kelcie was selected to receive a Public Policy Research Internship award to study at UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER). At ISER she co-authored a study quantifying the university's carbon emissions due to commuter traffic and air travel. Kelcie also undertook an independent project determining the economic value of the Anchorage Municipal Libraries. “My position at ISER cemented my interest in research and demonstrated the power of academic work to shape public policy,” said Kelcie.

In August, Kelcie traveled with a group to Tatabanya, Hungary and Tromso, Norway where they looked at local climate action plans. They also met with government officials and leaders of environmental groups and discussed innovative environmental strategies implemented in each town, such as a biomass power plant, an energy field and recycling plant with an optical sorting system. This research is culminating in a Climate Action Plan for the city of Anchorage that will be presented to the Anchorage Assembly for adoption.

Kelcie will graduate in May from the University Honors College as a University Honors Scholar with a major in Economics from the College of Business and Public Policy. She will attend the London School of Economics in October 2009 as a Marshall Scholar.

For additional information on the Marshall Scholarship visit To arrange an interview with Kelcie Ralph contact Kristin DeSmith at 786-1263 or

A few of the other Americans who have won the Marshall Scholarship

Anne Applebaum – Pulitzer Prize-winning author/journalist and columnist for the Washington Post
Bruce Babbitt – Former Governor of Arizona and U.S. Secretary of the Interior for President Bill Clinton
Stephen Breyer – Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1994
William Joseph Burns – Undersecretary of State; former U.S. Ambassador to Russia
Ray Dolby – Inventor of Dolby Sound and Chairman of Dolby Laboratories
Mark Filip – U.S. Deputy Attorney General
Thomas Friedman – Multiple Pulitzer Prize winning author/journalist and columnist for the New York Times
James K. Galbraith – Economist and journalist
Peter Orszag – Director, Congressional Budget Office
Jeffrey Rosen – Author, law professor and legal affairs editor at The New Republic
Roger Tsien – Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry
Daniel Yergen – Pulitzer Prize-winning author and noted economic researcher