Chris Counts, an undergraduate student double-majoring in biomedical sciences and anthropology, has been selected as a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Marshall Scholarship – a fully funded opportunity to pursue an advanced degree in the United Kingdom.
Counts is one of only 34 U.S. students to receive the scholarship this year and the first CSU student to receive the scholarship since 1989. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health at the University College London next year before pursuing medical school.
The Marshall Scholarship Programme, which is named after Secretary of State George C. Marshall, began in 1953 as a gesture of gratitude to the United States for the assistance provided to the United Kingdom under the Marshall Plan. The scholarships provide talented young Americans the chance to study for up to three years at a U.K. university of their choice.
“Chris has seized every opportunity available to him during his time at Colorado State, making him a well-rounded and highly competitive candidate as he applies to medical school,” CSU President Tony Frank wrote in his recommendation letter to the Marshall Scholarship Committee. “Chris has been careful to seek out experiences that will prepare him to handle the more personal side of medicine.”
As a high school student in 2007, Chris started the non-profit organization Hygiene for Humanity in Arvada, Colo., as a small program collecting hygiene products from community members and distributing the donations to the Arvada Community Food Bank. The program gradually broadened its impact by shipping soap and oral hygiene supplies to Medical Teams International.
In 2009, he founded the H4H club at CSU to participate in a variety of fundraising and volunteering activities. In 2011, H4H expanded globally to Tanzania when Counts was invited to participate in a public health internship by a non-governmental organization called Fighting AIDS in Tanzania.
“I was able to facilitate a partnership between Hygiene for Humanity and Fighting AIDS in Tanzania that resulted in the creation and implementation of a community-based health education program,” Counts said. “Ultimately, this collaborative program strives to empower the local community in implementing a mindful, effective, and sustainable health education program.”
In addition to his extracurricular activities, Counts was selected for his academic achievement in maintaining a flawless grade point average in a course load including both undergraduate and graduate courses. As an undergraduate, Counts’ research in HIV-1 protease, a virus-specific enzyme essential for viral infectivity, has received several awards in poster presentations at Colorado State University as well as the University of Colorado. His research findings have been compiled into a developing manuscript, soon to be submitted to a scholarly journal.