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Brown senior awarded Kanders Churchill Scholarship in science policy

Maddie McCarthy ’24 is first from Brown to ever win award, first to win any Churchill scholarship in 12 years

<p>Maddie McCarthy ’24 will head to Cambridge in the fall to pursue a master of philosophy in public policy with a focus on science and health policy.</p><p>Courtesy of Maddie McCarthy</p>

Maddie McCarthy ’24 will head to Cambridge in the fall to pursue a master of philosophy in public policy with a focus on science and health policy.

Courtesy of Maddie McCarthy

Maddie McCarthy ’24 was awarded the Kanders Churchill Scholarship, which covers tuition for one year of graduate research study in science and public policy at the University of Cambridge in England, according to a Jan. 23 University press release

Established by Winston Churchill in 1963, the Churchill Scholarship selects 16 American undergraduates every year to conduct independent research as masters students at Churchill College at Cambridge. In addition to tuition, the foundation will cover the scholars’ travel costs, as well as provide them with a stipend and opportunities to apply for special research grants. Two more students have been selected under the Kanders Churchill Scholarship which was established in 2017. 

The sixteen Churchill Scholars will conduct research in science, math and engineering, while McCarthy and one other student will research science policy as Kanders Churchill Scholars. McCarthy is Brown’s first Kanders Churchill Scholarship recipient — and the first to receive any Churchill Foundation scholarship in the last 12 years. 

McCarthy, a health and human biology concentrator, entered the University in 2019 as a varsity student-athlete hoping to “learn about all angles of medicine, from policy to clinical research and direct patient care,” she told The Herald. 


In October, after graduating from Brown, McCarthy will head to Cambridge to pursue a master of philosophy in public policy with a focus on science and health policy. Inspired by her family’s struggles with gaining access to cancer treatment and other health care services, McCarthy plans to focus her masters research on rural surgical access, comparing U.S. and U.K. health care systems. 

“It’s a natural thing for me to (desire to) improve the healthcare that so many people in our country need” and are often unable to receive due to where they live, McCarthy said. 

During her four years at Brown — and gap year working as an assistant clinical research coordinator at Stanford University — McCarthy conducted research to reduce youth peer violence and develop an educational model for undergraduate surgical exposure. In 2023, McCarthy also interned for the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States and worked as a research assistant to the dean of Yale’s School of Public Health. 

“Brown has really uplifted and supported me in anything I wanted to do,” McCarthy said, emphasizing the support she received from mentors and the University’s fellowships division. Her experiences led her to apply for scholarships for masters programs in health policy — including the Kanders Churchill Scholarship — this past fall.

For McCarthy, learning about her selection was “an incredible surprise,” she said. “To be able to represent Brown in a nationally competitive scholarship was extra sweet for me.”

“We are thrilled to see Maddie supported in her continued work at the forefront of rural health care policy, and for the broader recognition of student scholarship in science policy at Brown,” Joel Simundich, assistant dean of the College for fellowships, said in the press release. “We hope students continue to apply to the Kanders Churchill Scholarship in the years to come.”

“I’m a product of great mentorship,” McCarthy said. “It has made all the difference for me to have a team of people that believe in me.” 


Julianna Chang

Julianna Chang is a University News Editor who oversees the academics and advising and student government beats. A sophomore from the Bay Area, Julianna is studying Biology and Political Science on the pre-medical track. When she's not in class or in the office, she can be found eating some type of noodle soup and devouring bad books.


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