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Updated 10:00 AM December 4, 2006




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Alumna awarded Marshall Scholarship, will study at Oxford

Lyric Ingrid Chen, a 2006 LSA graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and economics, has won a prestigious Marshall Scholarship to study comparative politics at Oxford University.

Courtesy Lyric Ingrid Chen

Chen currently is in China on a Fulbright Scholarship, learning about the country’s society and institutions and assisting individuals at legal aid centers in several cities. Contacted by e-mail, Chen says she was surprised and thrilled to hear of her selection. “It was a shock to receive the phone call, and I was speechless on the phone.”

The California-born Chen, who also was a finalist in the Rhodes Scholarship competition, says she plans a three-pronged career combining academic research with legal aid practice and policy to help change the conditions impeding justice for the citizens of China.

“Curiosity is a important part of my relationship with the world,” says Chen, “so I hope to continue academic research and scholarship beyond my graduate studies at Oxford.” She says she also is driven by a strong desire for change. “I hope to create change through work on the ground and through policy. I will pursue a career that combines these interests: I hope to practice legal aid, teach and research, and also become a leader at the policy level, whether in NGOs (non-governmental organizations) or as an advisor to the (U.S.) State Department,” Chen says.

Her career goals were inspired by seeing a man in Tiananmen Square in Beijing being arrested for simply wanting to bring a grievance to the attention of the People’s Assembly. “Watching the police march the man away, I grappled with the question: What can I do to help him and thousands of others who want to seek justice?”

Chen says that her work at Oxford will focus on Chinese politics and she will study and research civil society development in China. “I hope to examine Chinese non-governmental organizations and their impacts on politics, the law, and social change.”

“We’re very proud of Lyric,” says Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “Her desire to help the Chinese people in such a direct way can be an inspiration to all of us. That desire to serve is a hallmark of our student body and we’re pleased that the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission recognized that motivation in Lyric as well as her intellectual strengths,” Monts says.

Monts notes that, with Chen, Maya Soble, 2006 LSA graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, also was a national finalist in the Rhodes Scholarship competition.

The first of three information sessions for students interested in applying for the Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell Scholarships is scheduled 5–6 p.m. Jan. 23 in the Johnson Room, Lurie Building, College of Engineering. More information is available on-line at

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