Amid a record-setting year that produced its largest number of undergraduate Fulbright winners, St. John's University is celebrating its first-ever Marshall Scholarship, awarded to Shama Ams ’14C, a McNair Scholar and recipient of a Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship.
Considered one of the most prestigious international academic awards, the Marshall Scholarship finances young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in the United Kingdom. The application pool is filled with the most accomplished students from across the nation. Ams will pursue his graduate studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.
"Shama's recognition by the Marshall selection committee is quite deserved," said Andre McKenzie, Ed.D., vice president of academic support services. "As the first St. John's student to be awarded this honor, Shama is a source of pride for the entire University community."
A government and politics major, Ams is interested in international relations. He was recently awarded the Public Policy and International Affairs Program Fellowship and attended the 2013 Junior Summer Institute at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University last summer.
"Shama’s success results from his ‘can do’ spirit in and out of the classroom," said Konrad Tuchscherer, Ph.D., associate professor of history and associate provost for external scholarships and fellowships. "No task is too great and no challenge too tough for him."
The scholarship represents the culmination of Ams’s interest in diplomatic service, as well as his continued research on public health institutions in the developing world. The Marshall Commission was established by the British Parliament to commemorate US Secretary of State George C. Marshall’s plan for European economic development after World War II. “The culture, mission, and goals of the Marshall Commission seemed to align with my desired career path," Ams noted.
A Marshall Scholar himself, Tuchscherer recognized Ams as an ideal candidate. Born in Texas to a preacher who emigrated from Nigeria, Ams has become “a New York City success story,” said Tuchscherer. “He turned his dreams into a roadmap for success in the city and at St. John’s. The next adventure in his narrative will be his experience as a Marshall Scholar."
Ams had high praise for the support he has received from his faculty mentors and the work of the Graduate Admissions Assistance Program. "Working with Dr. Tuchscherer and the GAAP office has changed my life," Ams stressed. "I am forever grateful to my mentor, Fred Cocozzelli, Ph.D., for suggesting that I pay the GAAP office a visit one afternoon during my sophomore year.”
"The office unlocked opportunities that I had never considered before,” Ams continued. “It also supported me through every obstacle of every application, and instilled the confidence in me to strive for great things.”