Marshall Scholarship awarded to Troia Reyes-Stone '17

Reyes-Stone is the fifth Brandeisian to win the prestigious scholarship.

Troia Reyes-Stone stands in front of the Washington Monument

Troia Reyes-Stone '17 remembers when former Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared a war on drugs in 2006.

At the time, the Oakland, California native was in high school and was worried about her extended family living in Mexico, where at least 115,000 people have died as a result of drug trafficking since then.

“The war on drugs as started by Calderon precipitated into unbelievable bloodshed,” Reyes-Stone told BrandeisNOW. “Unfortunately, my family also suffered. It made me question how we got here and how we could stop this.”

Reyes-Stone, who graduated from Brandeis summa cum laude with majors in International and Global Studies (IGS) and East Asian studies, now wants to become a policymaker and dedicate her career to ending drug-related conflicts and fatal overdoses. Now 14 years removed from the war’s start, she is well on her way to joining the fight.

Reyes-Stone will pursue a master of science degree in evidence-based social intervention and policy at Oxford University, and a master of public policy degree at the London School of Economics, as part of being named a 2020 Marshall Scholar on Dec. 9, 2019.

The Marshall Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships for American citizens, funding students who wish to pursue graduate study in the United Kingdom.

The scholarship was created by British Parliament in 1953 as a gift to the U.S. in recognition of Secretary of State George C. Marshall and the Marshall Plan, an economic initiative which helped strengthen ties between the U.S. and countries involved in World War II.

“I think I cried when I first heard that I had won it, because it’s honestly such a dream come true,” Reyes-Stone said. “It was a huge moment of relief and happiness.”

Reyes-Stone is the fifth Brandeisian to win a Marshall Scholarship. She joins other prominent alumni recipients including social and cultural historian Eileen Yeo; journalist and three-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Thomas Friedman; Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law professor Martin Stone; and Washington Post opinion writer and editor Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig.

Reyes-Stone currently works in Washington, D.C. as a press assistant for the House Democratic Caucus. Through her studies in England, she will combine her interest in American government with evidence-based research and international policy.

Reyes-Stone said her education at Oxford and the London School of Economics will give her a unique skillset to help craft new policies for addressing the war on drugs.

“We need a multi-pronged approach,” Reyes-Stone said. “We have to address addiction and decrease demand. Billions of dollars are funneled into the drug trade and none of the problems are going away until you turn off that faucet. We also have to work together with our allies because this is a transnational international problem that requires better coordination between nations.”

Reyes-Stone is already experienced in studying international law and politics.

She interned with Parliamentarians for Global Action, where she focused on human rights, while studying abroad in the Netherlands. After graduating, she spent one year in Mexico through the Binational Business Fulbright, where she worked at Solcargo, a Mexican corporate law firm, and also took classes at the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico, a research university in Mexico City.

But Reyes-Stone is particularly thankful for the perspectives she gained while at Brandeis. She said her professors played a pivotal role in shaping her desire to work as a policymaker.

“I love working in government and I love policy, but I think Brandeis helped sharpen my interest -- I learned to look more at international coalitions, even while handling challenges on the domestic side,” said Reyes-Stone, recalling working closely with politics professor Kerry Chase, East Asian studies professor Yukimi Nakano, and history professors Xing Hang and Heyward Parker James while she was a student.

“These are people who forever changed my life for the better,” Reyes-Stone added. “Brandeis and the amazing faculty there have been essential to where I am now. The faculty helped guide me to where I am now and pushed me to strive even higher.”

In addition to the professors mentioned above, the following people also supported Troia throughout the application process: Professor Dan Breen, Professor Joel Christensen, Professor Jen Cleary, Professor Irv Epstein, Dean of Arts and Sciences Dorothy Hodgson, Director of Academic Fellowshios Meredith Monaghan, Professor Melissa Stimell, Director of Programs in International Law and Justice Leigh Swigart, and Professor Bernie Yack. 

Categories: Alumni, Humanities and Social Sciences, International Affairs

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