Elizabeth Stoker '13 wins Marshall Scholarship

She is the fourth Brandeisian to receive the prestigious award

Photos/Charles A. Radin

Marshall scholarship winner Elizabeth Stoker '13 and Nate Shammay '14 sold pies at the staff Thanksgiving lunch last week to raise money for Waltham Group activities.

Elizabeth Stoker ’13 has won a Marshall Scholarship and will study theology and Christian ethics at the University of Oxford following her graduations from Brandeis.

A native of Arlington, Texas, Stoker has earned a near-perfect GPA while pursuing a double major in English and sociology and a minor in Near Eastern and Judaic studies.

She founded the Brandeis: Be Our Guest program, which allows students to donate meal plan guest meals to be cooked and served at a homeless shelter in Waltham, during her first semester and has been deeply involved in community service activities throughout her Brandeis career. She is an active participant in the Waltham Group’s Hunger and Homelessness program and a board member at the Community Day Center.

Stoker integrated academics and applied ethics in a paper on disability and ethics which she presented at a regional conference earlier this year, and which will be developed further in a forthcoming publication on Christian ethics and epilepsy.

Named for Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the British Government-funded Marshall Scholarship Program offers talented young Americans the opportunity to pursue graduate study for up to three years at a university of their choice in the United Kingdom. It is an all-inclusive scholarship, covering tuition, books, living expenses and transportation costs.

The program began as a gesture of gratitude to the people of the United States for assistance received by Britain under the Marshall Plan for reconstruction of Europe after World War II. Nearly 1,000 students from across the United States apply annually; no more than 40 of them win. About 1,500 students have been awarded Marshall Scholarships since the program’s founding in 1953.

Stoker will pursue a master of philosophy in theology, with a focus on Christian ethics, at the University of Oxford. She is the fourth Brandeis student to be granted the award since its inception. Previous winners include social and cultural historian Eileen Yeo (1963), journalist and three-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Thomas Friedman (1975), and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law professor Martin Stone (1985).

Following her two-year investigation into Christian ethics at Oxford, Stoker plans to pursue a doctoral degree in religious studies.

Stoker, who studies Augustine in her spare time, refuses to separate her personal life from her academic pursuits. She hopes to use her work to contribute to a conversation beyond academia about ways Christian ethics can have a positive impact on marginalized individuals.

“I intend to focus on centering conversations about contemporary Christian ethics on issues affecting disabled people, and to use those conclusions to begin conversations with church authorities and interfaith groups,” Stoker says. “It is my hope that church organizations and interfaith groups that interact with faith communities will draw positive, progressive conclusions from my work, which will result in an improvement in the lives of disabled people.”

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