Poli Sci Major Named Marshall Scholar

This year’s winner of the prestigious accolade awarded to exceptional young Americans will attend Oxford next fall.
By Allison Engel
Colin Koproske will be seeking a master of philosophy in political theory.

Colin Koproske, a multifaceted senior majoring in political science and music performance, has been named a 2007 Marshall Scholar.

This highly competitive scholarship, one of the most prestigious awards a graduating American undergraduate can receive, will take Koproske to the University of Oxford next fall to earn a master of philosophy in political theory.

Koproske, 22, who comes from Fenton, Mo., joins four other USC students who have won the honor in recent years: Jacob Chacko (2000), Paul Miller (2002), David Chacko (2004) and Nilay Vora (2004).

“I received ‘the call’ from an official at the British Consulate the night after my interview,” Koproske said. “Her voice lacked any emotion either way, so my immediate reaction was ‘OK, you probably didn’t get it.’

After his disbelief at the news and her assurance that he indeed was selected, the call ended abruptly. “Then came the screaming and dancing,” he said.

The Marshall Scholarships were established by the British government in 1953 as thanks for assistance received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. At an estimated value of $60,000, the scholarships provide two fully-funded years of study, with a possible third year extension, at any university in the United Kingdom.

At least 40 Marshall Scholarships are awarded each year to exceptional young Americans studying a range of subjects.

Koproske’s research interests are secularism and the relationship between religion, science and political thought. While at USC, he co-founded a nonprofit called the BrainTrust Project that will launch in January to better connect academic experts with policymakers and the public to improve political discourse.

He is also a classically trained percussionist and pianist who currently holds the drumset chair in the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra as well as playing in several smaller jazz groups and a hip-hop/R&B band around Los Angeles.

“My drums and keyboard will make the trip with me to Oxford,” Koproske said.

The Trojans who recommended him were President Steven B. Sample; Craig Stanford, anthropology and biological sciences; Alison Dundes Renteln, political science; and Phillip Placenti, USC Thornton School of Music.

Tony Tambascia, director of academic recognition programs at USC, urges any student or faculty member wanting to recommend a student for Marshall, Rhodes, Fulbright or other scholarships and grants to contact his office for information. Most deadlines are in September.