John Russell Beaumont, a Plan II and architecture graduate, has been awarded a Marshall Scholarship, one of the most coveted study abroad scholarships available.
Russell’s scholarship, one of 34 awarded this year, will fund his graduate education and help him pursue his chosen path as an architect or planner specializing in disaster relief.
He will be studying international development with a focus on poverty, conflict and reconstruction at the University of Manchester, as well as urban design in the Bartlett School of Architecture at the University College in London.
“This scholarship is an incredible opportunity,” Russell said. “The chance to study at top universities in the U.K. is in itself a life-changing opportunity, but I am especially excited to meet the amazing students who share the scholarship. I look forward to representing the USA in the U.K. and taking full advantage of my studies and the Marshall Scholar community to contribute to emergency housing and disaster relief practices.”
The scholarship covers university fees, cost of living expenses, books, thesis research and travel, as well as fares to and from the United States.
Russell first became passionate about relief efforts as an undergraduate, and his determination was made clear in his 104 page senior thesis, “Relief and Recovery: The Role of Architecture and Solidarity in the 2010 Chilean Earthquake Reconstruction,” which the Plan II Honors Program cited as a “model thesis.”
“Russell has the knowledge, the moral force of character and the courage to address one our major problems,” Larry Carver, director of the Liberal Arts Honors Programs, said. “He has the ability to determine how to provide housing that is affordable and functional, attractive and ‘green,’ for those who suffer from natural or man-made disasters.”
The liberal arts side of Russell’s education provided an important counterbalance to the more technical side of his architecture curriculum. His Plan II degree allowed him to explore more abstract subjects, such as philosophy, social sciences and history. Other benefits of the program that Russell valued were small class sizes, motivated peers and passionate professors.
On top of his academic success, Russell maintained a well-rounded college experience. He kept up with this love of sports by playing competitive soccer and intramural football and softball during his time at UT. He also played keyboard in a band in Austin, and continues expressing his passion for the arts through drawing, painting and composing music.
Russell emphasizes the importance of helping others and worked with Engineers without Borders and Habitat for Humanity, mentored freshmen in the School of Architecture, tutored math in high schools throughout Austin and worked with Overland Architects to help the homeless in San Antonio and Austin, all while he was a student.
This isn’t the first prestigious award Russell has been honored with—the Albuquerque, N.M. native was recruited to The University of Texas at Austin and awarded a Dedman Distinguished Scholarship as a freshman. Of the 140 Dedman Scholars since 1990, Russell is the third to also win a Marshall Scholarship.
After graduation last spring, he received the Oglesby Traveling Scholarship, which is awarded to one graduating senior in architecture every year. It allowed him to travel to South America to research emergency housing and post-disaster recovery. These experiences left Russell eager to continue traveling internationally.
“The U.K., and London in particular, is a global center for both architecture and international development,” Russell said. “I look forward to being immersed in that environment and learning everything I can from the amazing work that will be going on around me.”
The Marshall Scholarship, now in its 60th year, is funded substantially through the government of the United Kingdom. The intention of the Marshall Scholarship is to “strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions,” according to the Marshall Scholarships website. It was founded as a tribute to the Marshall Plan, which was named for former U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall and through which the United States provided aid to rebuild Europe after World War II.