Fourth-year in the College Sarah Nakasone and Law School student Christopher Crum have received prestigious Marshall Scholarships to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom next fall.
Announced Dec. 3, the highly competitive national scholarships will enable 48 American students to study in the United Kingdom in any field of their choosing. Twenty-seven people affiliated with the University of Chicago have now won a Marshall Scholarship since 1986.
A global studies major, Nakasone plans to pursue a career in disease control and prevention, specifically looking at how to better engage women in HIV sexual health programs—work that was first inspired by her research at UChicago and abroad.
“I’m curious about how women draw on their social networks to spread sexual health information, and how we as researchers and medical providers can assist those networks, instead of fearing them,” Nakasone said. “Making sure women have the information they need, from people they trust and on whom they already rely, will allow for more effective health programs because it will give women the strength and resilience to advocate for themselves.”
A second-year law student, Crum intends to use the Marshall Scholarship to examine how governments can use law to combat threats that the internet poses to individual privacy, the integrity of elections and quality of public discourse. He will take two years away from the Law School and then return to finish his final year.
“I plan to study the relationship between privacy, democracy and the common law, on the assumption that legal systems have the ability to increase or decrease, and thereby control, the amount of privacy an individual has—and, by extension, regulate that individual’s role in a democratic system,” Crum said, adding that figuring out how to deal with the downsides of the internet will be “the political question of my generation.”
Nakasone will pursue two degrees: a master of science in control of infectious disease from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, followed by a PhD in epidemiology and population health from University College London.
“We are tremendously proud of Sarah,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “Over the last century, University of Chicago faculty, students and alumni scholars have successfully confronted the most important problems of our times. We are delighted the Marshall Scholarship has recognized Sarah’s extraordinary talent and commitment.”
Crum will pursue a master’s degree in the social science of the internet at the Oxford Internet Institute. The institute, he noted, is at the forefront of research on some of today’s most pressing internet-related concerns, including identifying falsified news content using something called blockchain technology, a decentralized system of verifying and tracking information accuracy.
“If fake news could be removed from public discourse and elections could be electronically safeguarded, it would go a long way towards restoring public faith in the democratic systems in the U.S.,” Crum wrote in his Marshall application. “As an American citizen, I feel as though I have an obligation to pursue that end as far as I can.”
During his two years, he also hopes to explore how legislation and the common law system might approach internet regulation in a productive way.
“We are immensely proud of Chris for bringing his powerful intellect and stellar work ethic to bear on these complex and pressing questions, which are fundamental to the future of our society and democracy,” said Law School Dean Thomas J. Miles, the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics. “The Marshall Scholarship is both an honor and an opportunity, and we look forward to seeing how Chris’s time at Oxford shapes his inquiry. We also look forward to welcoming him back to the Law School at the end of his two-year study at Oxford.”