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For immediate release: December 11, 2003
Contact: Eric Quinones, (609) 258-5748, quinones@princeton.edu

Editors: Photos are available at: http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pictures/l-r/pastor/ and http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pictures/s-z/schweizer

Two Princeton students win Marshall Scholarships

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Two Princeton students -- a senior geosciences major exploring the possible existence of life beyond Earth and a recent graduate now in Chile examining the legacies of the Pinochet dictatorship -- have been awarded 2004 Marshall Scholarships.

The Marshall Scholarship covers the cost of living and studying at a British university of the recipient's choice for two or three years. Senior Maia Schweizer will use her award to obtain a master's degree in earth sciences at the University of Oxford. Daniel Pastor, who graduated with a degree in politics from Princeton in 2003, will pursue a master's in political theory at Oxford.

Schweizer, who is from Pasadena, Calif., has traveled to Germany, Norway, Mexico, Canada and around the United States to study fossils, rare bacteria and other evidence of the origins of life on Earth. At Oxford, she will work with Professor Martin Brasier, an earth scientist well known for his research on early life forms.

"I believe that a thorough understanding of life on our own planet lays the foundation for turning our gaze outward, to Mars and beyond," Schweizer said. "Working with Professor Brasier, I will have access to the cutting-edge tools that are revolutionizing the field and guidance in using them."

Schweizer, also a candidate for a certificate in visual arts, is a painter, singer, dancer and an athlete. "Maia Schweizer is one of the brightest and most independent minded undergraduate scholars I have encountered in my 35 years teaching at Princeton," said Lincoln Hollister, a professor of geosciences.

"She chooses subjects that interest her deeply; and she chooses projects within classes and for her independent work that will best satisfy her curiosity," Hollister said. "She has taken more than full advantage of the broad range of educational opportunities at Princeton."

Schweizer has served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Geosciences and won the department's Benjamin Howell '13 Junior Prize for excellence in research. She is a member of Princeton's rifle club and an Outdoor Action leader. She also practices tae kwon do, fencing and traditional Swiss dancing and singing, among many other interests.

Pastor, who is from Dallas, is currently in Chile on a Martin Dale '53 Fellowship, which he received last spring. The annual award goes to an outstanding Princeton senior to devote the year following graduation to an independent project. He also won a Truman Scholarship, which provides funds for graduate school in preparation for a career in government or elsewhere in public service.

Pastor plans to pursue a public service career focused on foreign policy and international relations. His current research in Chile examines the long-term political consequences of the constitution imposed by the Pinochet dictatorship. "It is a historical study of how democracy can be undermined and perverted," he said.

At Oxford, Pastor will concentrate on ethics and political philosophy. "I am especially interested in the role ideas and ideology play in shaping political outcomes," he noted. Pastor will work with Alan Ryan, a former Princeton politics professor and current head of the New College at Oxford, who is noted for his scholarship on liberalism and John Dewey.

Pastor also earned a certificate in Latin American studies at Princeton, and has studied in Spain and Germany. He founded Princeton in Latin America, a postgraduate program that offers yearlong fellowships with public service, humanitarian and governmental organizations in the region.

Professor of Religion Jeffrey Stout, who taught Pastor in a seminar on religion and ethical theory, called him a "remarkably learned, conversable" student. "He often speaks with the wisdom and understanding of someone who is already beyond graduate school," Stout said.

At Princeton, Pastor was a member of the Council of the Princeton University Community and the Undergraduate Student Senate, and he volunteered as a Spanish translator at the Princeton Medical Center's Low-Income Clinic. He also served as a research assistant to Princeton President Emeritus Harold T. Shapiro and was an intern with President Bill Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Commission.

The Marshall Scholarships were established in 1953 as a British gesture to the United States for the assistance received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. Financed by the British government, the scholarships are awarded to American students who have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership potential. The 2004 awards were open to students who graduated after April 2001. For more information, visit: http://www.marshallscholarship.org.


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