UW News

December 6, 2007

UW has two finalists, one Marshall Scholar

Jeffrey Eaton, a senior at the UW, has been selected as a Marshall scholar, one of the highest awards available to college graduates in the U.S. He and fellow UW student Graham Griffiths were finalists in the competition, which awards full scholarships for graduate study in England to about 40 American students annually.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Eaton. “The Marshall scholarship is one of those things that draws so many outstanding candidates. You can’t really expect to get a Marshall, but I’m really excited by the opportunity to study in London.”

Founded by an act of the British Parliament in 1953, the awards pay all expenses for two years’ study at a British university of the student’s choice. This year, only 18 candidates in the San Francisco region were selected for Marshall interviews. The region includes Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, northern California and most of Nevada. The UW and Stanford University were the only two universities in the region to have two candidates selected for interviews.

“We are exceptionally proud of Jeff Eaton and Graham Griffiths,” said Mona Pitre-Collins, director of the UW Undergraduate Scholarship Office.

Griffiths, 22, will graduate next March with a double degree in economics and philosophy plus a minor in international studies. The son of Hazel Singer and John Griffiths of Seattle, he plans a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies, and is particularly interested in the influence of liberal political philosophy on Arab intellectuals. “It felt nice to be recognized by the Marshall Committee,” said Griffiths. “The process was difficult, but it provided me a chance to reflect on what I have done at the UW and hope to do in the future.”

Eaton, 20, hopes to earn a doctorate in infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College in London. He studies mathematical modeling of infectious disease epidemics, such as HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, and Imperial College is doing the best work on the topic, he said. “It’s a graduate program I’ve been interested in for several years, but it’s very hard for Americans to get funding.”

Eaton was also a finalist for a Rhodes scholarship this year but after receiving the Marshall scholarship declined a Rhodes interview because the scholarship is limited to Oxford University.

Eaton will graduate in June 2008 with a master’s degree in statistics, bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and sociology and a minor in music. He was the 2005 UW Sophomore medalist and a 2006 Goldwater Scholar. He also won the 2006 College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Research Award and the Research Fellowship for Advanced Undergraduates, the latter funded by the Washington Research Foundation.

Eaton has done much of his work with Samuel J. Clark, a UW sociology professor. “Jeff is an exceptionally gifted scholar who has impressed me with both his talent and his gracious, engaging approach to life,” said Clark.

With a Mary Gates Venture Fellowship this past year and guided by Clark, Eaton studied health care and economic development in 21 rural villages in the Mpumulanga province of South Africa.

He’s the son of Bill and Peggy Eaton of Seattle. After his sophomore year at Roosevelt High School, Eaton entered to UW via its Academy for Young Scholars.

He has played the bass with the Seattle Youth Symphony and the University of Washington Symphony. He’s also studied in Italy as part of the UW Honors Program. In his spare time, Eaton enjoys dancing and cycling.