Two Duke students have won the Marshall Scholarship this year. 

The seniors—Julie Uchitel and Shomik Verma—were chosen from more than 1,000 applicants to be among the 48 winners, the University announced in a Duke Today release Monday morning. Uchitel and Verma become the 28th and 29th recipients of the award from Duke. 

The scholarship covers all university fees and living expenses for approximately 40 American students each year to pursue post-graduate studies in the United Kingdom, in any field and at any university. The scholarship was established in 1953 by the British government. 

“Throughout their time here, they have contributed not only in the classroom and lab but also through public service, cultural engagement and residential leadership," President Vincent Price said in the news release. "The Marshall Scholarship’s mission is to identify and support future leaders, and I am confident that Julie and Shomik’s experience at Cambridge University will prepare them for excellence in their chosen fields.”

Julie Uchitel

Uchitel, from Southampton, Pa., is a neuroscience and French double major. The senior has done research at Duke Children’s Hospital and at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She has also published two scientific articles and has three first-author papers to her name. 

Her academic interests focus on pediatric medicine and developmental neuroscience, and she has used her time at Duke to study the humanities as well—specifically, French literature. 

On campus, she has served as co-president of Duke’s Global Medical Brigades—which has taken her to Honduras twice to work with local communities on medical care—and is editor-in-chief of Duke Student Global Health Review. Uchitel also volunteers with local science outreach to high school girls through Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering and Science.

“I am incredibly grateful to have been chosen as a 2019 Marshall Scholar,” Uchitel told Duke Today. “I greatly look forward to beginning my studies in the UK and working to strengthen the US-UK relationship through pediatric care and child rights dialogue.” 

She plans to use the funding to study for a research master of philosophy degree in pediatrics at Cambridge and to earn a master's degree in international child studies from King's College London.

Shomik Verma

Verma, from Houston, is a mechanical engineering major pursuing minors in energy engineering and mathematics. 

In addition to winning the Marshall Scholarship, Verma has received a Goldwater Scholarship and a Udall Scholarship. He has also been named a Grand Challenge Scholar and a Pratt fellow, selected to be a member of the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi and served as co-president of the mechanical engineering honor society Pi Tau Sigma. 

Focused on energy research, he has spent three semesters working in the Thermodynamics and Sustainable Energy Laboratory with Nico Hotz, assistant professor of the practice in the department of mechanical engineering and material sciences. 

The senior was also a member of the Duke Electric Vehicles team that set a Guinness World Record during the summer for the world's most fuel efficient vehicle. He was co-president of the club and technical lead for the project. He is also president of the Duke Energy Club and co-president of the Smart Home. 

"I’m so thankful for the support of my family, friends and advisers, and I’m beyond excited to spend the next two years in the UK working on developing the next generation of solar technology," Verma told Duke Today. 

Verma said that he intends to use the funding to join the lab of lecturer Rachel Evans at Cambridge, where he will focus on the efficiency of solar photovoltaic cells.