By Fangzhou Liu
Meghan Shea ’17 was named a 2017 Rhodes Scholar-elect on Nov. 19. Considered one of the oldest and most celebrated international fellowships, the Rhodes Scholarship funds two to three years of study at Oxford University for 32 outstanding students each year.
“It still hasn’t sunk in that I’m a recipient of this incredible scholarship,” Shea told the Stanford News Service. “I am so grateful for my extraordinary system of family, friends, teachers and mentors at Stanford and beyond who helped make this opportunity possible.”
Shea is currently finishing her degree in environmental systems engineering and aims to pursue a master’s degree in nature, society and environmental governance at Oxford. According to Shea, her fascination with the ocean began early. As a child, she aspired to become a marine biologist, and she developed a filter to remove E. Coli bacteria from water at the age of just 18.
At Stanford, Shea has a record of independent research and leadership. Through programs such as [email protected] and Mentoring Undergraduates in Interdisciplinary Research (MUIR), Shea has conducted oceanographic research throughout the Pacific. Shea has also worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to analyze carbonate chemistry data from a shellfish hatchery near Seattle.
Shea’s passion for the environment extends beyond her research in science. As an environmental advocate, Shea has been active in Students for a Sustainable Stanford and reported on climate change resiliency in small-island developing states at the COP21 summit in Paris.
“She is never still for a moment, always seeking, questioning, innovating and thinking about the ocean that she loves so passionately,” Jeff Koseff, professor of civil and environmental engineering, told the Stanford News Service. “The very extensive set of activities that she has undertaken while at Stanford – from the coursework to the research to the leadership activities – are all focused strongly on Meghan’s overarching professional and social goals of making a lasting and meaningful impact in environmental stewardship, particularly in the ocean realm.”
Together with her fellow Rhodes Scholars, Shea will begin her studies at Oxford in October next year. She eventually hopes to earn a doctorate in biological/chemical oceanography and pursue a career in research.