Photo of UC Davis alumna Valencia Scott standing outside next to a large window.
As a Marshall Scholar, UC Davis alumna Valencia Scott (B.A., anthropology and international relations, ’20) will pursue a doctorate in criminology at the University of Oxford, focusing her studies on the criminalization of Black immigrants.

Alumna Earns Prestigious Marshall Scholarship

Recent anthropology and international relations graduate will study criminology at Oxford University.

A recent UC Davis College of Letters and Science graduate has been awarded a prestigious Marshall Scholarship, a decades-old British government program that pays for American students to pursue advanced degrees at British universities.

Valencia Scott (B.A., anthropology and international relations, ’20) will pursue a doctorate in criminology at the University of Oxford, where she will focus her studies on the criminalization of Black immigrants. She is planning a career in international human rights law.

Scott is one of two Aggies to receive a Marshall Scholarship this year. Naomi Murray ’21, who is majoring in evolution, ecology and biodiversity, will pursue two master’s degrees — one in climate change at University College London and the other in science communication at the University of Manchester — to help her communicate about climate change.

The Marshall Scholarship Program dates back to 1954 as a post-World War II thank-you to the United States, and a means to retain and strengthen the United Kingdom’s close association with its wartime ally. The scholarship is named after U.S. Army Gen. George C. Marshall, namesake of the Marshall Plan, officially the European Recovery Program, which provided billions of dollars in aid to western Europe after the war.

Highly competitive, merit-based awards for study in any discipline, the scholarship typically covers two years of tuition, research and living expenses, with a total value of about $50,000 a year.

The program awarded 50 scholarships this year. Scott and Murray, who will start their advanced studies in fall 2021, are the third and fourth UC Davis students to be so honored, after College of Letters and Science graduates Lindsay Crawford (B.A., economics, ’03) and Judith (Mansager) Richardson (B.A., English, ’66).

A global look at racism and imprisonment

Scott’s research uses the lens of criminology to study the structural violence suffered by Black immigrants who are detained or incarcerated. As global movements arise to challenge mass incarceration and violence against immigrants, she hopes to uplift Black communities’ narratives in the crossfires of racism and incarceration. Studying the histories of policing, incarceration and immigration in the United States and the United Kingdom will allow her to develop global connections regarding race, immigration and criminalization.

“Witnessing the impact of the prison and immigration systems on my Black community, I learned early on that incarceration and hyper-policing are transnational issues for Black immigrants,” Scott said. “I began searching for answers to understand our experience. My search for a more profound sense of meaning drew me to immigration justice history and discourse.”

A former student advisor to the chancellor, Scott also has a record of service at the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center, the School of Law’s Immigration and Civil Rights Clinic and the Imani Health Clinic, where she co-founded the Imani Legal Clinic.

She is a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Her research has been supported by a Provost’s Undergraduate Fellowship, the Department of Anthropology and an Incarceration Initiative Grant.

Prestigious scholarships

Interested students should visit the UC Davis Prestigious Scholarships website for more information about Marshall Scholarships and how to apply, and to learn about Goldwater, Rhodes, Gates Cambridge, Fulbright and many other awards. Students are encouraged to meet with the prestigious scholarships advisor early in their academic careers to discuss application processes and eligibility for the various awards.

— Adapted from an article by Sharon Campbell Knox, director of communications for Undergraduate Education.


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