Two Duke seniors and one 2016 graduate were among the 43 recipients of the Marshall Scholarship.

Chosen from more than 900 applicants, seniors John Lu and Meghana Vagwala, and Antonio Lopez, Trinity '16, together bring the total number of Marshall Scholarship recipients from Duke to 27. Each year, the Marshall Scholarship is awarded to about 40 American students to pursue postgraduate studies at any university in the United Kingdom. Recipients can select any field of their choosing, and the award covers many costs, including university fees and cost-of-living expenses.

“In their time on campus, Meghana, John and Antonio have each demonstrated tremendous academic potential and a dedication to service that reflects Duke’s core values," said President Vincent Price in a Duke Today release. "I wish them the very best as they embark on their studies in the United Kingdom."

This is not the first award for Lu, who is a 2017 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, a Duke Faculty Scholar award winner and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Lu, a chemistry and mathematics double-major with a minor in biology, has been involved with research at the School of Medicine and at the University of Oxford. He has received grants to study the structure and function of viral proteins that regulate host transcription factors in the lab of Dr. Micah Luftig in the School of Medicine, according to the Duke Today release. 

In addition, Lu created and taught a house course on neglected tropical diseases and was chosen as one of eight student board members to advise the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s END7 campaign on its efforts to increase worldwide student engagement.

“I’m particularly excited to more deeply explore the basic and social science facets of neglected tropical diseases,” Lu said in the Duke Today release. “What makes these diseases special is that they don’t necessarily kill people, but over the long term they kill people's hopes and dreams.”

At Duke, Vagwala received the merit-based Angier B. Duke Memorial Scholarship to pursue a Program II major in neuroscience, ethics and anthropology. She has pursued research into cognitive enhancement at the University of Oxford, and is a member of the Nepal Global Mental Health Lab, where she conducted research about mental health issues in the country.

Vagwala is also co-founder of the Compass Center Duke Ambassadors, which partners students with Compass Center leaders to engage in domestic violence hotline advocacy and gender-violence prevention training.

“At Duke, I’ve been able to interweave my feminist ethos, love of stories and curiosity about the workings of the human brain,” Vagwala said in the Duke Today release.

Lopez, Trinity ‘16, is a second year master’s of fine arts student at Rutgers University. During his time at Duke, he was president of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, co-taught a house course about social justice and was a co-trainer for the Center for Race Relations.

Additionally, Lopez helped create the University’s first Latinx Cultural Center, which is located in the Bryan Center.

“While I am honored beyond words to represent my community with this scholarship, it cannot end with me,” Lopez said in the release. “I want leaders like David Jiménez, Daisy Almonte, Ana Ramírez, Axel Herrera, Gustavo Andrade and so, so many more to know you are the greatest gifts our community has.”

Lu will enroll in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to pursue a master of science degree in health policy, planning and financing. The one-year stint will be followed by a year of research to obtain a master of philosophy degree in biochemistry at Cambridge. According to the Duke Today release, Lu plans to complete an M.D./Ph.D. degree afterwards to help pursue a career in vaccine development.

Vagwala plans to study medical anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, and global mental health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Afterwards, she hopes to attend medical school in the United States for a career in clinical care and global health research.

Lopez, whose planned institution of study was not specified in the Duke Today release, said in the release that he will forge connections with Muslim-affiliated institutions in the United Kingdom. After completing those studies, he plans to enroll in a joint-degree J.D./Ph.D. program, and then work for immigration clinics in the San Francisco area.

Prior to this year, the last Marshall Scholar from Duke was Kenneth Hoehn, Trinity’ 13, who received the scholarship in 2012.