University of Texas at Austin student awarded Marshall Scholarship

Dec. 8, 2003

AUSTIN, Texas—A student from The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded one of this year’s prestigious Marshall Scholarships to study in Great Britain.

James Scott, a Katy, Texas native, is a senior majoring in mathematics and Plan II Honors. As a freshman, he discovered the science of Bayesian statistics in a Plan II tutorial with Dr. Bill Jefferys, the Harlan J. Smith Centennial Professor in Astronomy. Scott continued to pursue the subject, winning a $5,000 award from the University Co-op for valuable research on using Bayesian statistics in DNA sequencing.

He has worked with Houston’s Acres Homes Center for Education and Economic Development to examine the statistical basis of the Texas Education Agency’s claims about improved performance on standardized test by minority students. The author of numerous papers, he has also been a math and science tutor at local elementary schools and was chair of the Dean’s Scholars Distinguished Speaker Series, which brings eminent scientists to lecture to the public at the university.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Marshall Scholarships, established in 1953 as Britain’s expression of thanks to the United States for Marshall Aid extended following World War II. The scholarships, financed by the British government, provide an opportunity for American students who have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership potential to continue their studies for two or three years at a British university. This year there were more than 1,000 applications nationwide for the coveted 44 places.

The Marshall Scholarships, worth about $60,000, cover the scholar’s tuition costs, books, travel and living expenses while in the United Kingdom. Scott will attend the University of Cambridge where he will study mathematics and history/philosophy of science.

For more information contact: Michelle Bryant, College of Liberal Arts, 512-232-4730.