UConn student will study in the UK with awarded Marshall Scholarship
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 16:08
When Ethan Butler first arrived at UConn in 2008, he joined Engineers Without Borders, a small, loosely organized group of students with a common interest in math, science, building things and solving problems. Little did Butler know that his decision to become part of this organization would drastically impact his future career.
Now Butler is a UConn graduate and one of just 34 college graduates nationally to earn the Marshall Scholarship. His active role in Engineers Without Borders helped him earn the prestigious honor.
As a Marshall Scholar, Butler will receive a fully-funded graduate education at his choice of institutions in the United Kingdom. Butler has his sights set on the Imperial College London, a university that excels in his fields of chemical engineering and innovation, entrepreneurship and management. Imperial College London has made several noteworthy contributions to the field of science, including the discovery of penicillin, the creation of fiber optics and the development of holography.
The Marshall Scholarship Program, established in 1953 by the British Parliament, was designed to express Britain’s gratitude toward the United States after they implemented the Marshall Plan in 1948, which helped to rebuild Europe’s economy after World War II and protect the weat from Soviet Communism. In addition to seeking the most highly qualified scholars, the selection committee looks for students who understand the importance of British and American relations and would be able to build upon this connection in the future.
Butler’s leadership ability made him a perfect candidate for the Marshall Scholarship. After all, the current state of UConn’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders-a thriving organization of more than 40 members, backed by upwards of 50 supporting organizations and contributing individuals-would not have
been possible without Butler’s leadership.
“[Butler’s] most significant contribution was restructuring the group when he first became president. This allowed our organization to grow in size and capability. He was also very successful in building connections that help EWB develop its projects,” said Andrew Silva, the current president of UConn’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders.
In addition, Butler’s ability to collaborate and strengthen relationships with other cultures using his engineering background proved especially attractive to the scholarship selection panel. While he was president of Engineers Without Borders, Butler completed two major projects: a road restoration in Nicaragua and a water purification technology development in Ethiopia. To complete the Ethiopian task, he specifically researched the concept of the Forward Osmosis Membrane to learn how to filter out water contaminants, such as heavy metals. Both projects required him to effectively communicate with group members, organization supporters and Ethiopian and Nicaraguan citizens.
While a member of in Engineers Without Borders, Butler focused on vital issues such as sustainability and assistance for the impoverished the primary focus of his projects.
“He is very good at conveying EWB’s message of helping the poorest of the poor in a sustainable manner,” Silva said. He also developed leadership and management skills that make him a prime candidate for such an award.”
Butler made the most of his experience as a student at UConn, both inside and outside the classroom. He reached UConn’s most distinguished academic level as an Honors Program student and University Scholar, which was matched with comparable success in leadership pursuits as the recipient of UConn’s Global Citizenship Award, the Udall Scholarship, the National Council Portz Fellowship and the Newman Civic Fellows Award. Butler was also involved in EcoHuskies, a campus environmental policy group and Tau Beta Pi, an honors society for engineering students.
Butler’s undergraduate career, which marked by unrivaled academic achievement, strong leadership and an excellent sense of environmental and humanitarian awareness, won’t go unnoticed by his peers, especially with a Marshall Scholarship to substantiate his success.
“When I was a freshman, Ethan’s involvement in Engineers Without Borders inspired me to become an active member of the organization and motivated me to become a leader,” Silva said. “I think his acceptance into the Marshall Scholarship Program will encourage other UConn engineers to get involved, work hard and reach for the stars.”