UO physics student selected for 2010 Marshall Scholarship

EUGENE, Ore. -- (Nov. 20, 2009) - Tamela Maciel, a University of Oregon student from Grants Pass, has been selected as a prestigious Marshall Scholar. Maciel is the third Marshall Scholar from the University of Oregon in the scholarship program's 55-year history.

"We are very proud of Tamela Maciel and couldn't be happier that she was selected as a Marshall Scholar," said Richard Lariviere, UO president. "She is one of Oregon's brightest students who will go on to accomplish great things in the area of astrophysics, which has been her personal passion since childhood."(Story continues after video.)

The Marshall Scholarship was established in 1953 by the British Parliament to honor former U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall and to commemorate the ideals of the Marshall Plan, which was a force in rebuilding Europe after World War II.

Maciel, a physics and mathematics major from Grants Pass who will graduate in June, will begin her graduate studies at the University of Cambridge as one of up to 40 Marshall Scholars from the U.S. The Marshall scholarship will cover Maciel's university fees, cost-of-living expenses, books and research fees for two years, with a possible one-year extension. It will be a return trip to Great Britain for Maciel, who participated in a UO study abroad program at the University of Bristol in September 2008.

In addition to a stellar academic record including a 4.06 GPA, Maciel shares her love of physics and astronomy with others. She is the Oregon Student Ambassador for the National Space Grant Foundation's International Year of Astronomy outreach program. In this role, she organizes astronomy lectures and star parties around the state. She has given planetarium shows to school field trip groups and the general public at the Science Factory Children's Museum and Planetarium in Eugene since March 2007. She is also the co-founder and co-president of the UO Society of Physics Students chapter, which she helped to reintroduce during her freshman year.

"I hope to continue, as a researcher, with outreach to local schools," said Maciel. "It's very important that children have experiences with science at a young age. I felt like I missed out on that a bit and want to help others."

As a recipient of the NASA Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology program, she spent two summers interning at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Maciel credits the internships as confirming her deep interest in astrophysics, which she hopes to pursue as a doctorate degree.

"Tamela is a wonderful ambassador for the quality of academic programming at the University of Oregon," said Judith R. Baskin, Knight Professor of Humanities and associate dean of humanities. "We all wish her the best in her future studies as a Marshall Scholar."

In addition to Maciel, the University of Oregon was honored to have another student interview as a finalist for the 2010 Marshall Scholarship. Michaela Rife, an art history major from Cheyenne, Wyoming, interviewed in the final round of the competitive selection process. Rife initially enrolled at UO to pursue a history major and her passion led her to focus on art history. After completing a postgraduate degree in art history, Rife plans to embark in a teaching career.

"As a research institution, we're behind our students 100 percent with support and encouragement to go after prestigious honors that our elite students can and should receive," said Lariviere.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 62 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contact: Julie Brown, 541-346-3185, julbrown@uoregon.edu