TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A University of Alabama senior is among 46 Americans selected to study in the United Kingdom through the prestigious Marshall Scholarship.
Caroline Yuk, a senior from Crystal Lake, Illinois, is the third UA student to win the award and first in more than 40 years. The scholarship provides aid to American students to study at graduate-level U.K. institutions in any field of study.
Yuk, an interdisciplinary studies major in UA’s New College, will pursue postgraduate degrees in neuroscience at the University of Oxford and audiology science at University College London.
“Earning the Marshall Scholarship means the absolute world to me,” said Yuk. “It’s the greatest validation that I’m living in such a way that gives back to all who have helped me along the way, including my parents, siblings, friends and mentors.”
Yuk, who was born completely deaf but has since gained the ability to hear through cochlear implants and years of auditory-verbal training therapy, hopes to use her education and research to improve outcomes of those who are deaf or hard of hearing in underserved populations.
“In order to study and find effective solutions for a macroscopic problem such as poorer hearing outcomes in rural areas, it is critical to study at the microscopic level, such as the molecular mechanisms of hearing and balance,” said Yuk. “Auditory neuroscience is inherently multidisciplinary, so I will especially connect with audiologists, clinicians, scientists, biomedical engineers and hearing aid manufacturers in the U.K.
“In doing so, I intend to contribute significantly to a future team of international and esteemed professionals in the field with a view to increasing hearing access for underserved populations.”
In pursuit of the Marshall Scholarship, Yuk was supported by numerous UA faculty and staff, including an endorsement by President Stuart R. Bell. In addition to UA support, Yuk received endorsements from fellow researchers Dr. Gabriel Corfas, director of the Kresge Hearing Research Institute at the University of Michigan Medical School, and Dr. Tilak Ratnanather, associate research professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
“I’d like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Carmen Mayer, Dr. Tara Williams and the UA External Prestigious Scholarships Committee for their endorsement and assisting me with interview preparation,” said Yuk. “I also want to deeply thank UA faculty Dr. Marcia Hay-McCutcheon and Dr. Rebecca Allen, as well as Drs. Corfas and Ratnanather, for changing my life and their excellent mentorship. Lastly, I’m greatly appreciative of the UA New College for their support, especially from Dr. Natalie Adams and Dr. Julia Cherry.”
After graduating from UA in May, Yuk will continue her work through an internship at the Harvard Medical School before traveling to the U.K.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.