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Student Who Helped Earthquake Victims Wins Marshall Scholarship

Luke Schoenfelder

Luke Schoenfelder (C'12) says his Marshall Scholarship award to study in the United Kingdom is "an absolutely incredible opportunity."

November 21, 2011 – A student who once brought “green” disaster relief to Earthquake victims in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has been awarded a 2012 Marshall scholarship to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom.

Luke Schoenfelder (C’12), a government major, plans to attend either Cambridge University to study planning, growth and regeneration, or Imperial College to study innovation entrepreneurship and management.

Up to 40 American students are selected each year as Marshall scholars to pursue two years of post-graduate studies in any field in the United Kingdom. Schoenfelder is the 19th Georgetown student to win a Marshall.

He says both programs tie into his focus on international development and sustainability.

“It’s an absolutely incredible opportunity,” the Willow Street, Pa., native says of winning the scholarship. “I never could have imagined three years ago that I’d be sitting here with … this open door to studying in the UK and … get to learn alongside so many amazing peers at one of the top institutions in the world.”

Earthbag Technology

Schoenfelder demonstrated his commitment to international development and sustainability during his time Georgetown.

In 2010, he partnered with Habitat for Humanity to use his “Earthbag Technology” in Haiti. The process entailed filling plastic bags from aid organizations with earth or rubble to build permanent structures in Haiti after that country’s devastating earthquake.

“When I think of Luke Schoenfelder, one word comes to mind: Leader,” wrote John Glavin, professor of English and fellowship secretary, in his scholarship recommendation.

Schoenfelder also got involved with Georgetown Energy, a student-driven nonprofit that advocated placing solar panels on university-owned townhouses.

Incredible Professors

“We may have the largest student-funded solar project in the world when it’s done,” says Schoenfelder, who last spring won an Udall scholarship for his work on sustainability policy and a Brown Social Entrepreneurship fellowship for the housing technology in Haiti.

He cites James Vreeland’s class on international organizations as having “the biggest impact” on him as he began to work on sustainability efforts with other international organizations. Vreeland is an associate professor in the School of Foreign Service.

“It was really cool to learn how these organizations were structured,” Schoenfelder says. “Getting to meet so many incredible professors and have them really make that investment in my life has had a huge impact on my success.”

Schoenfelder recently started focusing on emerging market energy policy and technology by working with Clean Development Mechanism carbon financing projects – a way for emerging market economies to develop clean energy projects with UN approval – and other locally produced renewable energy systems.

“As soon as I met [Luke] … I was impressed by his self-command, his broadly informed commitment to the environment and his warmth,” Glavin wrote. “… He so brilliantly models that [goal of training men and women for others] for all of us around him.”

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