November 30, 2010

Cornell Student One of 40 to Win Marshall Scholarship

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Ali Hussain ’11 won the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, and will study for two years at Oxford University. For the second year in a row, Cornell can boast a Marshall Scholar among its graduating class. Ali Hussain ’11 was one of 40 American students named as Marshall Scholars this year. He will spend the next two years at Oxford University in England studying South Asian Comparative Politics.

Hussain won the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which is awarded to students committed to public service, earlier this semester. He is also a College Scholar and a founding member of the Cornell Urban Scholars initiative.

“I am excited because it will be my first time being in the United Kingdom,” Hussain said in an e-mail statement. “Since I was unable to study internationally while an undergraduate, I look forward to studying abroad.”

Prof. Ross Brann, Near Eastern Studies and Hussain’s academic adviser for his College Scholars program, attested to Hussain’s academic merits.

“[Hussain’s] near-perfect academic record and campus leadership point to [his] gifted intelligence and extraordinary promise as a scholar and leader,” Brann stated in an e-mail. “Clearly the Marshall Fellowships committee was spellbound by Mr. Hussain’s accomplishments and promise.”

In addition to Hussain’s excellence in academics and as a student leader, Brann also noted how Hussain “was very helpful to me in keeping the conversation focused” in Brann’s course on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The course covers strongly contentious issues, yet Brann said Hussein was able to discuss them “dispassionately” in a way that better fostered class dialogue.

Prof. David Patel, Hussain’s adviser in the government department, noted Hussain’s wide-ranging courses of study and his “incredible ability to combine that material” from different academic disciplines. Patel said Hussain has taken a varied and difficult academic course load. He uses knowledge he accrues from each course to develop and test theories while continually keeping an open mind, Patel said.

Hussain noted that he is still uncertain about what he wants to do after graduating Cornell and Oxford.

“Professionally, I am still exploring options. The good part about the fellowship is that it gives me two more years to defer having to make this decision,” Hussain said.

Patel said that he found Hussain’s uncertainty over a future career refreshing. He added that he can see Hussain “going in a number of different directions” after completing his two years at Oxford.

“We will hear of Ali in the years to come, for wherever his career ultimately leads, he will definitely make a difference,” Cheryl Littell, fellowship associate in Cornell Career Services, stated in an e-mail.

Original Author: Seth Shapiro