Senior Scholars

April 1, 2008
Packing their bags: Pearson, left, and McCartney are headed to Edinburgh and Dublin, respectively

Packing their bags: Pearson, left, and McCartney are headed to Edinburgh and Dublin, respectively. Megan Morr

Two Duke seniors, Ryan McCartney and Lee Pearson, have been chosen for prestigious scholarships for postgraduate study abroad.

McCartney, of Chappaqua, New York, was selected for the George J. Mitchell Scholarship, which provides for a year of graduate study in Ireland. A political science and philosophy double major, McCartney is the editorial page editor of The Chronicle. During his junior year, when the campus was embroiled in the lacrosse scandal, he served as the paper's editor in chief. That year, he was selected by the Associated Collegiate Press as one of the top three college journalists in the country for his reporting on the lacrosse case and on Hurricane Katrina.

McCartney says he plans to spend the next year studying political communications in an interdisciplinary journalism program at Dublin City University. After that, he says he plans to attend law school.

Pearson, of Spokane, Washington, was one of forty students selected for the Marshall Scholarship, which provides two years of graduate-level study in the United Kingdom. A double major in civil and environmental engineering and biomedical engineering, Pearson has been actively involved in water resource projects in Uganda through Duke Engineers Without Borders. He also has been involved in a project that introduced a machine to Uganda that shells peanuts and coffee beans. He is one of ten students living in Duke's Home Depot Smart Home during this, its inaugural, semester.

Pearson is interested in the sustainability movement, and issues involved in balancing environmental protection with human needs and economic issues. He says he hopes to complete a master's degree in ecological economics at the University of Edinburgh in his first year and a master's in engineering for sustainable development at the University of Cambridge in his second year.

Despite the two prestigious awards, Duke was notably absent this year from the ranks of Rhodes Scholarship winners. With the exception of 2005, this was the first year since 1993 that Duke did not bring home at least one Rhodes.