Alumnus Awarded Marshall Scholarship for Graduate Study in the UK

December 03, 2018

Ararat Gocmen; Photo courtesy of Ararat Gocmen

History Alumnus Ararat Gocmen Awarded Marshall Scholarship

The Marshall Scholarship seeks to promote strong relations between the United Kingdom and the United States by offering intellectually distinguished young Americans the opportunity to develop their abilities as future leaders. The scholarship covers the cost of two years of graduate study in the U.K. at a university of the recipient’s choice. This year marks the largest class in the scholarship program’s 65-year history, with 48 undergraduate students from across the United States selected.

Gocmen, of Bergen County, New Jersey, was a history major and earned a certificate in European cultural studies. Since graduation, he has been working as an analyst in the Portfolio Analytics Group at BlackRock.

Gocmen will pursue an M.Sc. in economics at University College London (UCL), followed by a master’s in the history of political thought and intellectual history, jointly administered by UCL and Queen Mary University of London.

In his personal statement, Gocmen wrote: “As an Armenian-American whose parents immigrated from Istanbul, I was attuned from an early age to the power of historical narratives. … A desire to provide historical context for radical political movements that have emerged since the Great Recession has motivated my research on similar phenomena in interwar Europe.”

At Princeton, he was co-founder and president of the Princeton Armenian Society, captain of the Princeton Federal Reserve Challenge Team, and served in editorial roles at The Princeton Progressive and Princeton Historical Review. He did an international internship with European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest, Hungary.

Gocmen’s academic awards include the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence, the Laurence Hutton Prize from the history department and the André Maman Prize, awarded for an outstanding thesis on the culture, economy, history, politics or society of France.

“Ararat is the kind of student one only rarely encounters, even among his most accomplished peers at Princeton,” said Anson Rabinbach, the Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History. “[He] displays the kind of diligence and intelligence that one expects from an advanced graduate student.”

Rabinbach called Gocmen’s thesis, which traced political developments in French colonial Alger in the 1930s and was awarded the Walter Phelps Hall Prize for the best undergraduate thesis on European history, “superbly researched, well argued and highly original.”

As a Marshall Scholar, Gocmen said he is “excited to be able to immerse myself in the study of economics and intellectual history, two fields to which I have always wished I had given more time while at Princeton. I look forward to visiting cities other than just London, the only British city to which I’ve previously been, as well as regularly traveling to continental Europe for both research and leisure.”

After the Marshall, Gocmen plans to pursue a career as a professor of modern history.

Read more at News at Princeton.