Birmingham Township’s Meghan Shea has been named a 2017 Rhodes Scholar. She’ll attend Oxford University in England.
Shea, who graduated from Unionville High School in 2013, is currently a senior at Stanford University studying environmental systems engineering.
“I am so honored and humbled to receive this award, but more than that, I am feeling particularly thankful for all of the incredible teachers I had in the U-CF school district,” she said. “I am so lucky to have had a network of educators who challenged me, inspired me, helped me grow, and nurtured my love of the ocean even in land-locked Pennsylvania."
Shea will be going after a master’s of philosophy in nature, society and environmental governance, which she said is an interdisciplinary environmental program grounded in the social sciences. She hopes that it will complement her engineering degree.
Unionville-Chadds Ford School district Superintendent John Sanville said he's not surprised to learn of Shea's success.
"The fact that everywhere Meghan goes success follows is no accident. She is an extremely talented young lady that we are proud to call our own" Sanville said.
Before attending Stanford, Shea developed methods for water filtration and oil spill bioremediation; since then, she has reported on small-island developing states and their climate change resiliency. She plays in Stanford’s steel pan drumming group.
While still in high school, Shea won a silver medal at the Delaware valley Science Fair. One of the prizes was an all-expense paid trip to the 62nd Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, Calif. to compete against 1500 students from 65 countries. Her project was “The Effect of Nitrogen, Sulfur, and Phosphorous Compounds on Bioremediation of Oil Spills by Pseudomonas fluorescens and Bascillus subtilis.
She developed an interest in the ocean while still in elementary school and she attended summer camps at John Hopkins to study biology and to Hawaii to study oceanography.
According to its press release, Rhodes Scholar applicants must be endorsed by their college or university. They are then chosen based on criteria set down in the Will of Cecil Rhodes. Those criteria include academic excellence, having great personal energy, ambition for impact, and an ability to work with others and to achieve one’s goals. Additionally, a Rhodes Scholar should be committed to making a strong difference for good in the world, be concerned for the welfare of others, and be conscious of inequities. A Rhodes Scholar must also “show great promise of leadership.”
(Full disclosure: Meghan Shea is the daughter of Chaddsfordlive.com’s Kathy Brady Shea and her husband Peter Shea.)