TU graduate Kerry McAuliffe wins 2012 Marshall Scholarship

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kerry McAuliffe, a May 2011 graduate of The University of Tulsa, has won a 2012 British Marshall Scholarship, one of only 36 awarded nationwide.

The Marshall Scholarship is comparable with the well-known Rhodes Scholarship. While Rhodes Scholars study at Oxford, Marshall Scholars may study at any university in the United Kingdom.

McAuliffe, of Bellaire, Texas, is the only scholar selected from an Oklahoma university this year. She will use her Marshall Scholarship to pursue two masters degrees: one in digital humanities and one in British 19th-century literature, both at King's College London, which is one of the few programs worldwide that offers intensive study in digital humanities.

McAuliffe Marshall Scholar 2012A National Merit Scholar, McAuliffe was recruited to TU as a Presidential Scholar. Selected for both Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, she completed TU's Honors Program, which she credits for encouraging her to envision literature within its cultural context. Extra-literary context is especially significant for digital humanities, which according to McAuliffe uses digital tools to expand and enhance humanities research.

"I hope to offer humanists the means to enrich their research as well as to enhance my own studies of 19th-century British literature by studying the interaction between humanities technology, and by building tools to enable such interaction," said McAuliffe, who was an English major and Spanish minor at TU. "Doing so has the potential to expand research of English literature and increase its accessibility to scholars and readers worldwide." Ultimately, she said, she wants to earn a doctorate and teach on the university level.

As a student, McAuliffe worked on the Modernist Journals Project, a TU partnership with Brown University that is funded by the National Endowment for Humanities. The MJP produces freely accessible, digital versions of significant 20th-century journals and magazines. In addition to digitizing printed text, McAuliffe tagged those digital texts with the kind of information scholars and librarians need for their work.

Scholars use this tagging, or metadata, to describe elements of a text that they consider noteworthy. Using these tags, scholars can mine the text for the frequency or prominence of words, sounds and other elements. Researchers may represent this information visually as a graph or map and use it to challenge previous assumptions about the text.

Beyond her work with the Modernist Journals Project, McAuliffe cofounded The Jabberwock, a journal designed as an outlet for scholarly writing from students. "Natalie O'Neal and I saw a need for students to be able to practice publishing their scholarly essays. We were thrilled to plant the seeds to encourage students to do more with their work than simply turn it in, get a good grade, then toss it," she says.

Active at the St. Philip Neri Newman Center, McAuliffe was a peer minister at the Catholic student center. She also served as vice president of activism for TU's Student Abolitionists group, which seeks to end human trafficking.

McAuliffe spent the spring 2010 semester studying Spanish in Seville, Spain, electing to stay with a Spanish-speaking host family. "I wanted to fully immerse myself in the language and culture," she said. In addition to her language classes, she took Spanish folk dance lessons for fun.

During her semester abroad, she backpacked with her roommate through Ireland, England and Scotland and visited Paris.

McAuliffe currently works on a technology communications team at Hewlett-Packard where she is leading research and development for converting technical documents to an ebook format. She previously worked at Hewlett-Packard for four summers producing online software demonstrations.

The British Marshall Scholars are a remarkable network that includes such notables as Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors such as Thomas Friedman and Anne Applebaum. Historically dominated by the Ivy League, in the past 10 years, the Marshall Scholarship has achieved wider distribution. Since 1995, eight students from Oklahoma universities have received Marshall Scholarships: five from The University of Tulsa, two from Oklahoma State University, and one from the University of Oklahoma.