Alice Sverdlik, a 2006 graduate of the University, was awarded the prestigious Marshall Scholarship late last month, which provides two fully funded years of study in the United Kingdom to 40 American college graduates each year. Sverdlik will begin her studies at the London School of Economics (LSE) next fall.
Sverdlik said that she plans to pursue graduate degrees in social policy and urbanization and development at LSE, where she will be working toward a Ph.D.
“Studying at LSE will allow me to combine rigorous scholarship with my concern to alleviate hardship and inequality,” she said. “I hope to continue researching key social problems and strengthen my abilities to help others.”
She credits her time at the University of Chicago for inspiring her to choose this line of study.
“I feel really fortunate that I could engage in meaningful activist and academic work at the University of Chicago,” she said.
Sverdlik said her most influential class was War and Disaster in East Asia with Norma Field. While conducting research for her B.A. thesis, Sverdlik also realized her passion for academic work.
“From my history thesis on famine relief, I learned how much I loved research and received invaluable support from my B.A. adviser,” she said.
During her undergraduate years at the University, Sverdlik spent three years leading the U of C’s Amnesty International Club and studied abroad in Paraguay with a human rights internship from the College.
“Alice is a wonderful combination of serious academic, committed human rights advocate, and warm, engaging human being,” said Andrea Gates, Sverdlik’s College adviser. “[One thing] that makes her stand out is that she is so clearly sincere. One knows after even a brief conversation with her that her motivations are genuine. Finally, she has a quiet energy and warmth that draw people to her, which makes her a valued colleague. She is without a doubt someone who will make a difference in the world.”
For Sverdlik, studying in the U.K. next year fits well with her academic career plans.
“[LSE] is one of the few [educational institutions] that deals with urban poverty and social policy in the developing world, not just Europe or the U.S.,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to gaining research background and skills so I can conduct my own studies on urban housing.”