Wheaton senior named 2010 Marshall Scholar
Gabriel (Gabe) Felix Kofi Amo '10 has been named a 2010 Marshall Scholar, one of 40 students nationwide who earned the scholarship to support graduate study in the United Kingdom.
With support from the Marshall, Amo will begin graduate studies at Oxford University next fall, focusing on the intersection of politics and public policy, and the role each plays in perpetuating cycles of poverty.
"Through substantive and symbolic ways, people are denied access to full societal participation on the basis of characteristics like social class and education level," Amo wrote in his proposal to the scholarship committee. "The impact of social exclusion is striking--denying opportunity to particular communities and transmitting those outcomes from one generation to another."
Amo, whose parents emigrated from Africa in search of a better life, knows firsthand about the power of education. As a child, he watched his father run a small business to support the family and his mother return to school to earn her degree as a nurse. Together, they secured opportunities for Amo.
"I saw my mother going to school day and night, and it helped me to understand the impact of school. It made me aware of the outcomes that flow from hard work and it inspired me to work hard."
Amo has acted vigorously on his interest in helping others through education. Selected twice as a Davis International Fellows scholar, Amo spent one summer working as a teacher in the Budumburan Liberian refugee camp in Ghana and another as a public health advocate in a rural district outside of Uganda's capital. Closer to home, he has served as an instructor preparing immigrants for the U.S. citizenship test. He also has served on the board of directors of two groups involved in education advocacy Young Voices Rhode Island and Youth in Action.
At Wheaton, Amo is a campus leader. He is currently president of the Student Government Association and is past president of Wheaton's chapter of The Roosevelt Institution, a non-profit, non-partisan national network of campus-based think tanks. He is a past student government senator, procedural advisor to the college hearing board and a student representative of major committees of the college faculty. He also works as a barista for the Lyon's Den, Wheaton's student-run coffeehouse, and is an active member of the a capella group Voices United to Jam.
The Pawtucket, R.I., native, who is majoring in political science and pursuing minors in American economy and Africana studies, took one semester off from school in the fall of 2006 to serve as an organizer for the successful U.s. Senate campaign of Sheldon Whitehouse. He later served as field director for the Rhode Island Democratic Party. He is currently working on a senior honors thesis analyzing the advocacy of the black Congressional caucus and their role in defining the "black agenda."
The fruits of his academic and service work are evident in the many awards that he has won, including a Truman Scholarship, which supports graduate study for outstanding students interested in careers in public service. He also has received a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship from the University of California at Berkeley and the R.I. Secretary of State's Civic Leadership and Community Service Award. On campus, he has won a Wheaton Fellows award and the Charles A. Dana and Jane Lisman Katz '69 scholarships as well as induction into the college's chapter of Phi Kappa, the national honor society.
Amo is the fourth Wheaton student since 2000 to win a Marshall Scholarship. Previous Wheaton students who have won the scholarship are Rebecca Chamberlain '99, Myles Matteson '06 and Derron "J.R." Wallace '07, who is currently studying at Cambridge as a Marshall scholar.