University of Richmond graduate Soleil Shah has received the Fulbright-London School of Economics Award, which is offered to one American candidate each year and funds a one-year master’s degree program in any discipline at LSE in the United Kingdom.

Shah, who graduated from UR in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and molecular biology and minor in healthcare studies, plans to pursue a Master of Science degree in International Health Policy during the 2018-19 school year.

“Through my studies and experiences at Richmond, I’ve learned that so much of our access to healthcare is so often, peculiarly, not determined by our health care needs but instead influenced by policies, identity, financial status, location, social connections and other less frequently considered factors,” Shah said. “Studying at the LSE as a Fulbright Scholar will both broaden and deepen my knowledge of how these forces influence clinical care in different parts of the world, enhancing my ability to blend a future career in medicine and policy and allowing me to contribute to alleviating the problems of health care inaccessibility that affect communities worldwide.”

Shah spent his junior year studying abroad at the University of Oxford, where he researched health care policy outcomes in rural India. After completing his Fulbright, he will attend medical school at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Eight University of Richmond students or recent graduates have been awarded Fulbright grants, the most in the institution’s history. Previously, the top number of Fulbright award recipients was six in 2009. To date, the University of Richmond has had 56 student Fulbright grant recipients.

Nearly 10,000 students from about 700 institutions applied for one of more than 1,900 grants to study, conduct research and teach abroad for the 2018-19 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

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The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program places recent college graduates and young professionals as English teaching assistants in primary schools, secondary schools or universities overseas - improving foreign students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States, while increasing the U.S. student's own language skills and knowledge of the host country, according to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.





Soleil's Journey at UR

More from Soleil Shah on the faculty and staff who influenced and supported him:

"I definitely give credit to all of the faculty and staff I've encountered throughout my time at UR in enabling me to win this Fulbright award. I will call out a few in particular. I'd like to thank 1) Dr. Rick Mayes, who opened my eyes to health inequities across the world and showed me the role policy and public health can play in helping people live happier and healthier lives, 2) Dr. Tracy Roof, whose class helped me improve my writing tremendously and taught me to approach policy with a balanced and critical eye, and 3) Slade Gormus, who encouraged and assisted me in creating a peer wellness coaching program at UR and inspired me to put my thoughts into productive action. Their steadfast encouragement and support throughout this process speaks to the quality of faculty and staff at UR, and how they care deeply not only about their work, but about their students too. Also, I’d like to call out Dr. Carol Parish, who showed me the importance of academic research in medicine and helped me hone my presentation and critical thinking abilities. And finally, I’d like to thank Dr. Kelling Donald, whose wisdom and encouragement helped me further understand intersections between the natural sciences and the humanities."
-Soleil Shah, Fulbright recipient