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Student to Pursue ‘Survival Migration’ Studies with Marshall Scholarship

Shea Houlihan

Shea Houlihan (SFS'13)

November 20, 2012 – Shea Houlihan, who last summer helped install a water sanitation facility in Uganda, is one of Georgetown’s latest Marshall Scholarship winners.

He will use his scholarship to pursue graduate studies in survival migration.

“Survival migrants – a term first introduced by Alexander Betts … at Oxford – cross borders because they do not have access to a threshold of minimal livelihood in their country of origin,” Houlihan explains.

Stellar Academic Work

The scholarship will allow him to pursue graduate degrees in social research methods and migration studies at the University of Sussex.

“We are proud of Shea’s scholarship at our Institute for the Study of International Migration and are confident that he will go on to accomplish great things as a Marshall scholar,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “In addition to his stellar academic work, he spends 12-hour night shifts at a local women’s shelter.”

Up to 40 American students are selected as Marshall scholars every year to pursue two years of post-graduate studies in any field in the United Kingdom.

Global Migration Work

Houlihan, an international politics major from El Paso, Texas, who won the scholarship along with Benjamin Buchanan (C’11, G’13), puts the number of Georgetown’s Marshall Scholars at 21.

Houlihan will graduate with a degree in international politics from Georgetown in 2013.

The senior already has served as a research officer for the Global Migration Governance Project, helping Betts with his forthcoming book on survival migration.

Future Hopes

He also has worked as a human rights intern with The Protection Project at Johns Hopkins University, where he implemented a national study of youth homelessness and trafficking of children.

“One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from forced migrants and refugees is their openness to the future,” Houlihan says. “While I do not know exactly what my career path will look like, I do know that I will continue to work with these populations.”

Eventually, he hopes to become the Assistant High Commission for Protection at the U.N.

White-Knuckled Ferocity

Houlihan has received numerous fellowships, including Georgetown’s Education and Social Justice award. He is also a winner of a Carroll Fellowship, the university’s flagship program for academically talented and ambitious undergraduates.

This past summer, Houlihan traveled with seven other undergraduates to Uganda to install a water sanitation facility in the village of Mbale.

 “…It is typical of Shea that he wanted, indeed felt he needed, to experience the hard lives of those whom he studies, and for whom he advocates,” says John Glavin, English professor and director of Georgetown’s Office of Fellowships, Awards and Research. “…He’s talked about the ‘white-knuckled ferocity of living somewhere where everything is at stake.’ That’s something he not only saw, it’s something he grew to admire and even love…”

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