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Arizona State University student Erin Schulte is preparing herself to tackle some of the world’s most complicated problems. She’s already co-founded a non-profit group to fight human trafficking and might one day help rebuild the economy in war-torn conflict zones.
“If I’m not going to do it, who will?” she asked.
“I can’t just say ‘why isn’t something being done’ without going in and trying to help.”
Schulte has won the prestigious Marshall Scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at a university in the United Kingdom in 2017. The scholarship committee makes the final determination, but her first choice is King’s College London, where she would like to pursue two degrees, in conflict, security, and development and in big data in culture and society.
She is the 18th ASU student to win the scholarship since it was established in 1953 as an act of Parliament. The scholarship, which selects up to 40 winners every year, is named for U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall to commemorate the ideals of the Marshall Plan and is meant to express the post-World War II gratitude of the British people to America. The most recent ASU winners were in 2014 and 2012, according to Kyle Mox, director of the Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement at ASU and associate dean of Barrett, the Honors College.
In 2016, 932 Americans applied for the Marshall Scholarship and 32 were selected — and only 25 percent of those winners were graduates of public universities.
Schulte will graduate from ASU in May with a degree in global studies, with minors in political science and economics and a certificate in applied business data analytics. She was in Barrett, the Honors College.
“I really want to pair international security work with development and big data,” she said. “I think it’s really important to be data driven when you’re looking at big issues like conflict and poverty. To help prevent further conflict and mitigate the effects of conflict, I want to work in development.”
Schulte said she would like to work in pre- and post-conflict zones.
“I want to use predictive analytics to help mitigate conflicts and humanitarian crises before they hit a critical point,” she said.
Schulte, who is from Scottsdale, is a co-founder of the All Walks Project, a student-led non-profit that educates at-risk students about human trafficking. She oversees the nonprofit’s chapters at high schools and universities around the U.S. and she facilitated the nonprofit’s expansion into Thailand.
While Schulte is leaving the organization to the next group of activist students, she’ll always be fighting human trafficking.
“If I’m working with conflict, human trafficking exists. It exists with refugees, in war-torn zones, and in conflict-free areas. It exists everywhere,” she said.
She feels compelled to tackle some of the world’s thorniest issues.
“I feel like once I become aware of these problems, I can’t just walk away from them,” she said. “I can’t just go on with my life.
“I have to choose the hardest problems because very few people do.”
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Top photo: Erin Schulte, who won the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, visited with some elephants last summer when she was in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with the All Walks Project to promote education for at-risk youth in rural villages.