It was partly in response to the news, partly because she was taking an ice bath.
“I was in a bit of shock until my [volleyball] teammates and I jumped out of the bath and started screaming together,” says the Honors medical anthropology special major from New York, N.Y. “And then, of course, I couldn’t stop smiling.”
Morgan-Bennett is one of just 46 students from around the U.S. this year to receive the highly selective honor, which invites burgeoning leaders to embark on graduate studies in the U.K. She will pursue a masters in anthropology of media and intensive language at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Morgan-Bennett’s application for the Marshall stemmed directly from her thesis: the written and visual ethnography The Black Maternal Health Crisis and Radical Doulas.
“I became interested in how public health institutions can better use visual mediums to develop more effective interventions in partnership with local communities to address health disparities surrounding race and reproduction,” says Morgan-Bennett, who is also a trained doula and the leader of SwatDoulas.
Asked what most excites her about the Marshall, Morgan-Bennett says “absolutely everything.”
“As a born and raised New Yorker, I think committing to 2-3 years outside of the United States is simultaneously intimidating and also exactly the challenge that will help me grow as an engaged global citizen,” she says. “An incredible mix of both studies and adventures.”
Morgan-Bennett relishes the chance to live and study in a cosmopolitan context, she says, and to immerse herself in the U.K.’s vivid performing arts scene.
“I’m especially looking forward to checking out London’s live music scene, as they have some of the most exciting new R&B artists,” she says. “And I’ve always dreamed of attending [Edinburgh Festival Fringe].”
Those interests align with Morgan-Bennett’s time in the College’s artistic community. She sings in a band called Funk the Patriarchy, has acted in student plays, and produced Swarthmore’s first annual RevFest, a visual and performing arts exhibition created by and for the College’s artists of color.
“I’ve felt a growing appreciation for the power of the arts to foster community and joy,” she says, “even when delving into conversations about marginalization and trauma that can, at times, feel so overwhelming to approach.”
Morgan-Bennett is also a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and has served as an Advocate for Diversity in the athletics department and a member of the Title IX Hiring Committee, among other honors and activities at Swarthmore. But beyond the academics and extracurriculars, she says, it’s the people who have been central to her path to the Marshall.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without the support of my friends, professors, and mentors—from all corners of campus,” she says.
“Over these past four years, I know that I’ve met young people who will become the leaders of tomorrow, and that together we are committed to expanding the global definitions of inclusion and justice,” Morgan-Bennett adds. “That’s a special gift.”