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06.17.2014

Marshall Scholar meets Prince Charles

Over the past two years as a Marshall Scholar studying at Oxford University, I have had some incredible opportunities, from singing evensong in a 17th century chapel to studying rare manuscripts in the storied Bodleian Library. But celebrating the Marshall Scholarship’s 60th Anniversary with the Prince of Wales was truly once-in-a-lifetime.

Prince Charles’s presence at the reception was owing to the Marshall Scholarship’s 60th Anniversary celebrations. Along with fellow Marshall Scholars, I met the Prince of Wales at a reception in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Before he arrived, we worried over how to address him (first “Your Royal Highness” and afterward “Sir”, I learned) and whether to bow (I opted for a plain old handshake). I had spent the better part of an afternoon picking out a tie. And then there was the issue of what to talk about with the heir to the British throne!

It turns out our worries were misplaced. Prince Charles was personable and greeted us all warmly. When my turn came, he asked after my studies in English at Oxford and reminisced about his own time at a different, but still venerable English university—he attended what Oxonians know as the “Other Place”, Cambridge. Our conversation was brief, and it was only after he moved on that I realized I had just discussed my research with royalty—an interaction I would never have dreamed of when I entered UGA as a freshman in fall 2008.

Since the first class of Scholars in 1954, the Marshall Scholarship has funded American students to study a wide range of subjects at Britain’s most prestigious academic institutions—Wolfson College, Oxford in my case. While in Oxford, the “city of dreaming spires,” I have delved into my interest in the British Empire and its literature. I have completed a master’s degree, writing a thesis that focused on Joseph Conrad and late-nineteenth century print culture. This year, conducting research through the Oxford Centre for Life-writing, I have used archives at the British Library to explore the perhaps surprising relationships between British and Indian intellectuals in the nineteenth century. Those interactions led to interesting exchanges of ideas and texts, but they also speak poignantly to a human dimension of complex colonial relations.

The Marshall is more than an academic award, though, and the scholarship aims to strengthen cultural and diplomatic ties between Britain and the United States. In the 1950s, it was the legacy of the Second World War that prompted the scholarship’s namesake, General George Marshall, to write to the first Marshall Scholars, “a close accord between our two countries is essential to the good of mankind in this turbulent world of today.” It is this dimension, I think, which makes the scholarship special - the Marshall Scholarship immerses scholars in British culture by, for example, organizing annual trips to Britain’s devolved governments: Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

This August, I will leave Oxford to enroll at Stanford Law School, but I’ve learned a great deal in my two years here: how to “take the mickey” and cycle on the left-hand side of the road—even how to address royalty. Meeting Prince Charles was an exciting opportunity, of course, but only one example of an incredibly rewarding two years. With the Marshall’s support, I’ve broadened my cultural horizons, pursued my intellectual ambitions, grown as a person, and made lasting friendships. I may be moving back stateside soon, but thanks to the Marshall I will always have an abiding connection to Britain. 

Matthew Sellers (AB '12)
2012 Marshall Scholars

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Recent Entries


09.02.2015

Bigger than me: Alumna remembers first game day

The 2015 football season is days away and the UGA Alumni Association couldn't be more excited! Many alumni look back fondly on their first game day experience at UGA, what it was like to wake up and find campus covered in a sea of red and black. Today, we are featuring an article from alumna and middle school teacher Rebecca Hendrix (BSED '08, ESD '14) wrote to teach her students about the concept of theme. 

Lonely.  Very lonely.  Will I make it here?  Do I fit in here?

“So, what are you going to wear to the football game on Saturday, Becca?” asked the pretty girl, Leigh, who lived across the hall from me in Creswell. I thought it was a really silly question. In my mind, football equated to hot dogs, hamburgers, sweat, shorts and T-shirts, and an all-around laid-back, exciting time.

“Um, I don’t know, I guess a Georgia shirt and shorts?” I didn’t have a creative answer to this one. Honestly, I hadn’t put that much thought into it.

“I heard that a lot of girls dress up for the games. I heard that they wear dresses and skirts and stuff,” mentioned Kimberly, another Creswell resident. Our group on the hall was a varied one, a mixed hodge-podge of ladies from all over the country, each very individual, but yet, somehow the same.

“Seriously?  I would never have thought that! Gosh, I don’t even like dressing up for church.” My response tried to shake off the fact that I was actually very nervous about the game on Saturday. This would be my first college football game, and I was beyond excited.  But this whole what-to-wear debate was just a smaller example of the larger issues I had faced during my first three weeks living on campus at UGA. I felt as if college was the middle school of my up-and-coming adult life. I didn’t know anyone, as I had come as the only person from my high school.  I was trying to figure out how to not get lost every day on the thick and twisted bus routes. And now, I was going to have to worry about wearing the wrong thing to a football game?

“I guess I could wear this black skirt I have, and I have a red tank top. That should be OK for the first game. But I’m not wearing heels. No way! There are too many hills; my feet will die!” We agreed in our little group that flip-flops were a definite must; I knew I could splurge on a pair of Georgia flip-flops I had seen at the bookstore just a couple of days ago.

Click here to continue reading Rebcca's story

Rebecca A. Hendrix (BSED '08, EDS '14) is a sixth grade English/language arts teacher at Ashworth Middle School in Calhoun, Georgia. She is also currently pursuing an Ed.D. in school improvement from the Univerisity of West Georgia.  Ms. Hendrix enjoys writing about her various experiences at UGA, particularly to share the importance of higher education with her students.

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08.26.2015

Alumna Spotlight: Ailsa Von Dobeneck (BS ’07)

Alumna Ailsa Von Dobeneck (BS ’07) has built a career on communications and world travel. She’s travelled extensively to locations such as London, Singapore, and Washington, D.C. for her developing government and international relations career. Most recently, however, Ailsa travelled to Los Angeles to display her passion for cooking on the Fox's MasterChef. 

University of Georgia Report Writer Erin Miller recently spoke with Ailsa regarding her experience on appearing on Masterchef’s rapidfire sixth season, her global travels and favorite memories of UGA. 

What motivated you to pursue cooking as a passion? Have you always spent a lot of time in the kitchen?

You know how there are some people that live to eat and some that eat to live? I am the former, through and through. After I graduating, I took a semester off before I started my masters at King’s College in London and decided I to spend the time really learning to cook. After all, if you love to eat, it is great to know your way around a kitchen. I enrolled in the advanced beginner’s class at the Le Cordon Bleu in London and learned the basics. I have been experimenting on those I love and travelling in search of new and exciting flavors ever since. My professional career took me to Singapore, where I worked in shipping, and I was able to travel extensively throughout the region. I now work in government affairs in Washington, D.C. and am doing more foodie time travel then travel. I spend my free time looking through old White House cookbooks at the Library of Congress. It is amazing the kind of gems you find in there. Next month I will be starting a weekly column on presidential recipes in my blog The Curious Tastebud, which will run through to the election next year.

On your Master Chef contestant page, you described yourself as a “unicorn” because no other contestant possessed your unique set of skills.  What are some of the unique skills that you acquired at UGA? 

I think UGA was the place where I truly started to learn about myself; I discovered what I’m great at, good at, and need to work on. I think the skill that I focused on developing first was time-management. Like in the kitchen, you need to really be prepared to pace yourself and use your time wisely at UGA. As an out-of-state student, my experience at UGA encouraged me to put myself out there: to introduce myself to people and take risks.

  

What is a positive Master Chef experience that you’d like to share with fellow UGA alumni?

I had so many positive experiences on the show. One of the highlights was getting to prepare a filet for Gordon Ramsay in his own restaurant, Gordon Ramsay Steak, in Las Vegas. I had never been to Vegas and the razzle dazzle of the whole experience was really special. Though my filet didn’t get me to the next round, I was proud of my dish. I also really enjoyed meeting the other talented contestants. One of my favorite fellow contestants went to LSU, so we had some great football banter. Go Dawgs!

You’re an extensive world traveler.  What countries have you visited and would recommend based on their cuisine?

I’ve been lucky with my travel options, as both of my parents are from Europe and I lived in Asia for a time. I am completely in love with Vietnamese cuisine and would recommend a trip to Ho Chi Minh City for anyone who enjoys street food and isn’t afraid to try bold flavors. Italy will always be close to my heart when it comes to edibles. My family spent a lot of time in Venice when I was a kid, where I learned the joy of a big bowl of pasta. For those who aren’t as adventurous, the Italian menu will give you familiar classics made with the best ingredients possible. Gelato anyone?

When you’re at home, what are some of the dishes you like to prepare?

My absolute favorite part of cooking is seeing people enjoy what I have made. I host dinner parties at my house and focus on making dishes you can prepare ahead of time so you have time with your guests. There is nothing worse than an absent hostess. Risotto is a favorite; it is refined and can come in a host of different varieties. I make a gorgeous manchego risotto with chorizo, red peppers, and arugula. 

What is your favorite memory of UGA?  Are there any specific places in Athens that you remember from days as a student?

With enough amazing memories to last a lifetime, I am struggling to pick a “favorite.” Watching the Dawgs win between the hedges was always amazing. We won the SEC championship my freshman year against LSU in Atlanta. I remember being so over the moon that I had chosen the “best university ever.”

Athens also has so many places that stick out in my mind. The Pi Beta Phi house on Milledge brings back a lot of fun memories, from getting ready for formals to decorating the front porch for every holiday imaginable. If we are talking foodie memories, I still dream about the grits from Last Resort. Hugh Acheson from Five and Ten is a real talent and always dished out the tastiest Southern dishes every season. I ran to the bookstore when Acheson's book, A New Turn in the South, was published. 

Is there anything else regarding your career experience that you’d like to share?

In both my careers (government relations and cooking), my education at UGA has held in me in amazing stead. My time in Athens gave me access to some of the best and brightest professors and allowed me to really channel my energy in positive ways. It is amazing the amount of UGA alums I have met across the world. It seems Georgia alums are all connected by a life-long love of learning and I am really proud to forever be a Bulldog.

To learn more about Ailsa and to see examples of her culinary work, please visit her blog.

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08.21.2015

UGA students row for hemophilia research

In June 2016, UGA students and avid rowers Jacob Pope '17 and Chris Lee '16 will be rowing 2,400 more, from California to Hawaii, in the Great Pacific Race. The campaign is called Row for Hemophilia and is designed to raise money and awareness for Hemophilia of Georgia (HoG). The UGA Alumni Association invited Jacob to guest blog about his upcoming adventure. 

HoG, a local-non-profit pharmacy, exists so people affected by bleeding disorders may live as normally and productively as possible. The only agency of its kind in Georgia, HoG sponsors outreach programs for the bleeding disorder community, such as Camp Wannaklot, leadership opportunities for those interested in community advocacy and legislative issues, as well as social support and services. 

Jacob and Chris didn't pick HoG simply because it was a good cause: they knew if they were going to take on a challenge as great as the Pacific Ocean, that they could also make lasting changes to a community that is close to their hearts. Jacob was born with hemophilia and has firsthand experience with the services HoG provides, like outreach nursing, attending Camp Wannaklot and participating in an exchange program to Germany to learn more about hemophilia across the globe. 

L-R: Jacob Pope and Chris Lee 

Row for Hemophilia hopes to raise $125,000 in total, which would be enough to gain access to the safest rowing boats and navigational equipment necessary to make the journey, as well as enough to fully sponsor Camp Wannaklot in 2016 - an impact that would provide more than 100 young children with hemophilia the opportunity to experience a great adventure. 

To learn more about Jacob and Chris, the Great Pacific Race and Row for Hemophilia, visit www.rowforhemophilia.com and follow the guys' story on Facebook

As always, Row Dawgs! 

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