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Holy Cross Senior Awarded Prestigious Marshall Scholarship

Victoria Mousley ’17 to study cognitive neuroscience of language at University College London
December 5th, 2016 by 
Victoria Mousley '17

John Buckingham

College of the Holy Cross student Victoria Mousley ’17, a psychology and deaf studies double major also completing a concentration in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, has been selected as a 2017 Marshall Scholar. The prestigious Marshall Scholarship finances graduate degrees in any field of study at institutions in the United Kingdom for up to 40 American students.

The Marshall Scholarship, founded in 1953 by an Act of Parliament in honor of U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, commemorates the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan. The scholarship expresses the continuing gratitude of the British people to their American counterparts.

In addition to funding for one or two years of graduate studies, Marshall Scholars also receive an annual book grant, thesis grant, a research and daily travel grant and money for university fees, cost-of-living expenses, and fares to and from the United States.

“Victoria Mousley represents the very best of what Holy Cross produces — smart, caring individuals who will use their talents and training to improve the lives of others and transform the world around us,” said Anthony Cashman, director of the Office of Distinguished Fellowships and Graduate Studies at the College. “For Holy Cross, this award, the first in 24 years, demonstrates that we have the talent to compete and succeed at the national level of an ultra-elite fellowship. I am gratified that the selection committee not only validated Victoria’s considerable academic achievements, but that they also recognized her commitment to serve others.”

Mousley, of Jericho, Vt., was selected for the Marshall Scholarship from over 900 applicants nominated by colleges and universities around the United States. In recent years, the percentage of applicants selected for this honor has been fewer than four percent.

“The award is the culmination of the advising and support I’ve received from faculty and staff at Holy Cross throughout the last three and a half years,” said Mousley. “My exceptional professors helped me clarify my academic interests early on in college. I enjoyed amazing learning opportunities in classrooms on and off campus, as well as through volunteer experiences in the greater Worcester area.”

During her Marshall Scholarship, Mousley will study under Dr. Mairéad MacSweeney at the University College London’s Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, which is ranked among the top programs for cognitive neuroscience in the world. In her first year, she will pursue a M.S. in Language Sciences, with a specialization in sign language and deaf studies. In her second year, Mousley plans to complete a master’s degree in cognitive neuroscience research. Throughout the duration of her studies, she will research the underlying brain mechanisms of reading and literacy at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre.

“For Victoria, the Marshall Scholarship will introduce her to a coterie of some of the most outstanding intellects and achievers from across the country and will provide her with the opportunity to work in one of the top neuroscience labs in the world,” said Cashman.

In 2016, Mousley was selected as a Harry S. Truman Scholar, a national award given to approximately 50 students who plan to pursue careers in public service.

She also spent her spring 2016 semester in a full-immersion study-away program at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. Gallaudet is the only liberal arts university for deaf and hard of hearing students in the world, and uses American Sign Language as the primary language inside and outside of the classroom. During that semester and the following summer, Mousley worked as a personal research assistant to Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, the co-principal investigator and Science Director of the National Science Foundation’s Science of Learning Center, Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2).

Mousley plans to study the neuroscience of language and apply her research to education and healthcare policy, specifically for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. She is also a member of the College Honors Program, the Charles A. Dana Scholars Program, Psi Chi, and Alpha Sigma Nu.

Outside of Holy Cross, Mousley is an active volunteer for Our Deaf Survivors Center, a non-profit located in Worcester, Mass. for deaf victims of domestic violence. She also volunteers as a teacher’s assistant at the Marie Philip School for the Deaf, the elementary school within The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Mass.

Media coverage:

Washington Post, Dec. 12: 40 Marshall Scholars picked for postgraduate studies in U.K., a 25 percent expansion

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