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CONTACT: Steve Witmer, News Bureau director, 217-333-1085

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Leah Matchett, of Grand Haven, Michigan, has been named a Marshall Scholar. A senior pursuing a double major in global studies and geology, Matchett is one of more than 30 students from the United States selected as Marshall Scholars for postgraduate study at a university in the United Kingdom.

Matchett is the fourth University of Illinois student in the last six years awarded the Marshall Scholarship. She plans to earn a doctoral degree in international relations at the University of Oxford. Her future goals include returning to the U.S. to continue her work on nuclear security issues, either within the federal government or with a nonproliferation-related think tank.

Prior to enrolling at Illinois, Matchett spent a year in Taiwan as a Rotary Exchange Student. She spent her undergraduate career at Illinois acquiring the technical and political expertise needed for a career in diplomacy focusing on international security.

While a student at Illinois, Matchett worked with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation in Washington, D.C.,  where she applied her expertise in nuclear nonproliferation issues as a co-author of an article for State magazine on securing chemical weapons in Libya.

Matchett also served as an environmental science intern for the U.S. Consulate in China, where she published a brochure analyzing air quality in China. She worked the past two years with the U.S. Geological Survey in the Department of the Interior, serving as lead author for a journal submission that quantifies how stream restorations lower nitrate loads.

Matchett is a James Scholar honors student in the college of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She has presented her award-winning research on statistical climate change modeling to Illinois legislators and has testified at the Illinois Capitol regarding proposed budget cuts in higher education. She is a teaching assistant and founded a pre-professional security studies student group to help fellow students to pursue federal service opportunities in the national security realm.