Each year, hundreds of ambitious students apply for the Marshall and Fulbright Scholarships, two renowned programs for their prestige and competitiveness. This year, Kristen Steudel ’22 has found herself within striking distance of both, being shortlisted for the Marshall Scholarship and a semifinalist for the Fulbright Scholarship.
“I met Kristen last year as she was applying for different scholarships. And she’s just such a dynamo,” Julia Goldberg, associate dean of Advising & Co-Curricular Programs, said. “She’s got her hands and all kinds of things. Her interests are just so vast. I mean, she’s just such a joy to work with.”
Steudel, a native of Westborough, Mass., is pursuing a dual degree in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics & Economics and has sought to take advantage of every opportunity available to her in her time at Lafayette. Her research under Mathematics Professor Trent Gaugler used the programming language R to find the best strategy to win a kind of dice game.
With Economics Professor David Stifel, she researched groundwater irrigation in Ethiopia, searching for the best strategies for providing access to local farmers in the country’s dry season.
“I am really interested in combining economics and engineering and mathematics to try and find solutions to climate change. Because I think climate change is both socially and scientifically oriented, so I think that having that dual mindset is really beneficial,” Steudel said. “I love to work on teams with a variety of people with different backgrounds.”
Steudel’s other recent involvements include a senior project in collaboration with other mechanical and chemical engineers. Together, they are designing a “compressor energy storage system,” which seeks to harness renewable energy sources to create a powerful system.
Outside of Lafayette, Steudel interned for the Los Alamos National Laboratory Dynamics Summer School, participating in research to expand the capacity of outdated sensors installed on American bridges.
The Marshall Scholarship finances American undergraduates to earn a degree in the United Kingdom. Around fifty students are selected each year, according to the Marshall Scholarship website.
While Steudel is a reserve for the Marshall Scholarship, she is currently a semifinalist for the Fulbright scholarship, through which she hopes to study at the University of Sheffield. The university had been the target of her Marshall Scholarship as well, and where a mentor of hers from the Los Alamos program teaches.
Elaborating on the Fulbright application, Goldberg made a note of necessary components like a personal statement and a program proposal, in which an applicant must argue why they want to study at the institution.
“We worked on it and worked on it and we worked on it and–as she probably told you–right down to being here till about one or one-thirty in the morning, of the day that it was due,” Goldberg said.
This year, Lafayette had about 14 Fulbright applicants, eight of whom have entered this next round of selections.
Kristen echoed this statement, noting that she invites any and all Lafayette students potentially interested in such scholarships to apply and to reach out to her for advice.
“I highly encourage other students to apply to this because it’s an incredible program,” Steudel said. “And I would love to always see Lafayette students there, that’d be so cool. Any students who are interested could always reach out to me.”
As she begins the second semester of her senior year, Kristen is continuing to explore her interests, considering multiple avenues for her post-graduate career. While she has strong interests in climate change solutions, math, engineering, and economics, more than anything, she “want[s] to be able to combine these to try and find solutions to pressing problems that we face.”