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Vassar College student, Michaela Coplen, awarded prestigious Marshall Scholarship

Vassar College honors student Michaela Coplen has been named a recipient of the prestigious Marshall Scholarship to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom. Coplen, who was a Ford Scholar and Tananbaum Fellow at Vassar, plans to pursue a career in foreign policy. As a Marshall Scholar, she will pursue an MPhil in International Relations at the University of Oxford.

Michaela Coplen will graduate from Vassar College with a degree in International Studies and minors in Arabic and Creative Writing. Her passions are poetry and U.S. foreign policy. She was appointed as a National Student Poet by First Lady Michelle Obama and has interned with the U.S. Army, the U.K. Cabinet Office, and the United States Agency for International Development in Jordan. Her research has spanned a breadth of issues related to conflict and sustainable peacebuilding.

“I'm thrilled by the opportunity to study for this degree, which will not only deepen my understanding of international relations but allow me to pursue independent research and introduce me to incredible peers and mentors--preparing me for a future career in U.S. foreign policy,” Coplen said. “The Marshall Scholarship was founded on the belief that people-to-people diplomacy and international exchange is vital in securing a more peaceful future--I couldn't agree more, and I'm honored to be a part of it.”

“Michaela Coplen has combined intellectual curiosity with innovative work while here at Vassar,” said Elizabeth H. Bradley, President of Vassar College.  “Earning this prestigious honor is the natural next step for Michaela and we are proud of her accomplishments and her representation of our college.”

The daughter of Army officers, Coplen moved around frequently as a child, attending both Department of Defense schools and public schools around the world.  This exposure informed her educational path, leading her to study international affairs and to communicate, through her essays and poems, the human cost of war and the lasting impact on military service members and the families that serve alongside them. When she was appointed National Student Poet in 2013, she made military outreach and advocacy a priority in her term as a literary ambassador.

During her time at Vassar, Coplen, who speaks Arabic and Spanish, studied in Amman, Jordan as well as University of Cambridge, U.K. Her accomplishments are as varied as serving as a Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Intern at the U.S. Army War College and Editor-in-Chief for the Scholastic’s award-winning anthology, The Best Teen Writing of 2015. 

The Marshall Scholarships, established in 1953 to strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions, finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. Up to forty Scholars are selected each year to study at graduate level at an UK institution in any field of study.

Vassar College is a coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted Monday, December 4, 2017