UAB student earns highly distinguished Marshall Scholarship to study in the United Kingdom

Undergraduate student Banks Stamp, a senior from Phenix City, is excited for a “lifetime opportunity” to learn in London.
Written by: Samil Baker
Media contact: Alicia Rohan

Inside Banks Stamp 2Undergraduate student Banks Stamp, a senior from Phenix City, is excited for a “lifetime opportunity” to learn in London.University of Alabama at Birmingham undergraduate student Banks Stamp was named among the 2023 cohort of Marshall scholars by the British government following an intense selection process. The prestigious scholarship finances postgraduate study at any British university for American citizens. The recipients are considered among the most accomplished undergraduate university students and recent graduates in the United States.

Stamp is a native of Phenix City, Alabama, and a senior in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in political science and public administration and concurrently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree through the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program. Stamp is a student in the UAB Honors College on the Personalized Path. During his time at UAB, he has served as the president of the College Democrats, has been a finalist for the Truman Scholarship, has participated in the Clinton Global Initiative University Class of 2022, is an ambassador coordinator for UAB Sustainability and was named Mr. UAB 2022.

“I am incredibly honored to be awarded the Marshall Scholarship,” Stamp said. “This lifetime opportunity is the culmination of my academic career at UAB and reflects the endless potential of what students can accomplish here. I look forward to living in London this fall, and I am most excited about meeting new people and exploring the myriad historical sites among the city’s 32 boroughs.”

The Marshall Scholarship was created in 1953 by Parliament as a gesture of gratitude to former U.S. Secretary of State General George Marshall and the people of the United States for the assistance that the United Kingdom received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. Since then, the British government has provided scholarships for more than 2,200 Americans, many of whom have gone on to play leading roles in addressing society’s global challenges.

“This is one of the most prestigious and rewarding national scholarships available to American students in the world today, and everyone who puts themselves forward deserves to be recognised as it is a very rigorous selection process,” said Rachel Galloway, HM consul general to the South Eastern United States. “I would like to congratulate our six winners, who are outstanding students with diverse interests from top U.S. academic institutions. Giving them the opportunity to study at some of Britain’s best universities as well as the experience of living in the U.K., will be important in shaping their future careers and personal journeys.”

Marshall scholars currently sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, serve as university presidents, are Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur fellows and Academy Awards nominees, and have been a NASA astronaut and Nobel laureate. “Marshall scholars continue to embody the spirit of the scholarship’s namesake in their commitment to making the world a better place,” said John Raine, chair of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission. “They are powerful advocates for excellence and progress in an impressive range of disciplines.”

The incoming class will begin graduate studies at universities across the United Kingdom this year, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the scholarship. Stamp intends to pursue a Master of Science degree in urban design and city planning at University College London, where his research will address compounding crises through smart, innovative design.

“There are overwhelming systemic problems facing communities; lack of effective administration has increased disparities, disincentivized connectivity and stagnated growth among urban centers,” Stamp said. He aspires to develop policies that improve connectivity and economic development in urban spaces. “How cities are planned and the strategies administrators implement to spur economic growth all impact the livelihood of each nation’s economy.”

Stamp is motivated and eager to serve as a proponent of change for the United States and the United Kingdom. His goal is long-term and extends beyond metropolitan centers within the U.K., working across an interdisciplinary field. He stated, “After my time in London, I will continue efforts to optimize policy solutions for urban centers across the world by utilizing a data-driven, people-oriented approach to leadership.”  

“Banks always works to meet people where they are and build connections that empower communities,” said Michelle Cook, Ph.D., director of Office of National and International Fellowships and Scholarships. “He takes what’s been invested in him and pays it forward for others. His selection as a Marshall scholar validates things we already knew about Banks: He is a leader, he is a bridge builder, he is a change agent.”

Stamp currently serves on the Civic Design Team for the City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office and has aided the Civic Design principal in the research, planning and implementation of key policies for the mayor’s Vision 2025 platform. He has also been an active leader within the state, serving as the political director for Alabama College Democrats with experience in political campaigns at all levels of government.

“Banks has accomplished many outstanding achievements as an undergraduate at UAB,” said Pam Benoit, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are proud that he has received the highly esteemed Marshall Scholarship and will pursue a graduate degree at University College London — wishing him much success in his future endeavors.”