NMSU graduate, Intel manager named 2008 British Marshall Scholar

By Austin Craig

By Julie M. Hughes

New Mexico State University graduate Marzyeh Ghassemi has been named a British Marshall Scholar.

Ghassemi, the second NMSU graduate to receive the Marshall award, graduated from NMSU in 2005 with degrees in electrical engineering, computer science and mathematics. Recruited by Intel from NMSU into the Rotation Engineer program, Ghassemi currently works as a market development manager for Intel’s Emerging Platform Group in Oregon where she is responsible for all the marketing and development activities to make Intel-powered emerging market devices successful.

The Marshall Scholarship is among the most prestigious offered and is comparable to the Rhodes Scholarship. Only the most outstanding students with recommendations from their universities are considered. In 2007, 44 students were chosen from a field of 958 applicants.

Ghassemi is no stranger to praise. Among the many honors she received as an undergraduate at NMSU, Ghassemi was named to USA Today’s All-USA College Academic Team, received the esteemed Goldwater Scholarship and was chosen as an outstanding senior in both the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Engineering.

“Going to school at NMSU definitely helped me prepare for success at Intel, and for success with the Marshall Scholarship. There are several faculty members who consistently took an invested interest in my education and greatly contributed to my own personal growth,” Ghassemi said.

“Even from the time I recruited Ms. Ghassemi to NMSU, it was apparent that she was somebody who was going to reach for the stars. It is gratifying to see her succeeding at such phenomenal levels,” said Steve Castillo, dean of the NMSU College of Engineering.

Next fall Ghassemi will begin her doctorate studies at Oxford University’s Life Sciences Interface Doctoral Training Centre and hopes to specialize in bionanotechnology.

“I hope others will be inspired and encouraged by what Marzyeh has accomplished and will accomplish,” said NMSU President Michael Martin. “We have many others who can and should win awards such as this. The faculty at Oxford will learn that NMSU is the source of very smart and motivated students as they come to know Marzyeh.”

The Marshall Scholarship was created by an act of parliament in the 1950s and is intended to give distinguished American students the ability to study at prominent British universities while simultaneously strengthening the bonds between the two nations.

“I want to create a company or consortium that will be an industry leader in digital medicine technical standards to foster industry innovation,” Ghassemi said. “I hope to partner with other global leaders in industry and academia in order to solidify a toolset for the integration of technology and medicine.”

Ghassemi has already shown her abilities to lead partnerships for change. In April, she accompanied Intel Chairman Craig Barrett to Lebanon having organized the company’s involvement with Partnership for Lebanon, an initiative launched by U.S. President Bush, led by Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems, GHAFARI Inc., Microsoft and Occidental Petroleum. The project provides critically needed resources to bring long-term economic growth and stability to the country.

As the Intel representative for the partnership, Ghassemi organized and led a team of various stakeholders in the U.S. and Lebanon, including universities, governments and non-profit organizations, as well as Intel’s Lebanese industry partners, to define a classroom PC project in an underserved community of Lebanon. Additionally, she initiated a telemedicine solution between a health clinic in the South of Lebanon with the American University Hospital in Beirut.

“Through her work with the Partnership for Lebanon, Marzyeh demonstrated great integrity, character and the ability to work well with people across organizational and geographical boundaries,” said Intel Chairman Craig Barrett. “She has made significant contributions to this important project in a troubled part of the world.”

“I have had a really amazing experience at Intel over the last two years,” Ghassemi said. “Even though I am incredibly excited to go to Oxford, I am also saddened to be leaving a position, and a team, that really believes in what we are doing and in my own personal ability.”

Ghassemi also realizes that along with the scholarship comes some added pressure.

“An award like the Marshall Scholarship comes with quite a bit of responsibility,” Ghassemi said. “I feel like I need to get that extra 10 percent out of myself at all times.”

She is optimistic, however, about the effect the scholarship will have on her future.

“Being a Marshall Scholar means that I will be a more effective leader,” Ghassemi said. “It means that I am setting a good example and doing something unique, which I am really proud of.”

The NMSU Honors College, particularly the Office of National Scholarships and International Education (ONSIE), assisted Ghassemi in her pursuit of the scholarship.

“We are thrilled by this acknowledgment of Marzyeh’s ability and proud that we could contribute to the group effort leading up to the honor,” said Jason Ackleson, associate dean of the Honors College and director of ONSIE.

“This is a great example of what can happen when talented students work with exceptional faculty,” said Greg Fant, interim dean of the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences. “We are very proud of Marzyeh’s recognition and wish her the very best as she studies in Britain.”

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