University of Pittsburgh Student One of 20 National Beinecke Scholars

Issue Date: 
May 4, 2017

young woman in front of a blue background

Margaret Farrell, a University of Pittsburgh junior studying the history and philosophy of science, has been named a 2017 Beinecke Scholar. She is the second recipient in Pitt history to earn this prestigious national scholarship, which supports graduate work in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Farrell will receive $4,000 now and $30,000 after she graduates from Pitt’s Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences in April 2018 with a Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil). The latter gift will support her pursuit of a master’s degree in evolutionary biology and a PhD in the philosophy of science.

The BPhil degree, notes her award nomination from the University Honors College, “requiring graduate-level research and a rigorous thesis defense, is the highest level of scholarship attainable by an undergraduate student at Pitt.”

Farrell has already conducted research on how low-income high school students experience inclusiveness in science education and on evolutionary development in fruit flies. She is a Distinguished Junior Invitee to Phi Beta Kappa and has earned a variety of honors from Pitt, including a Community-Based Research Fellowship Award and several scholarships.

Farrell has been active in science communication, writing for the undergraduate science magazine Pitt Pulse and editing submissions for Pitt Undergraduate Review, a research publication produced by the University Honors College.

The Easton, Pennsylvania, native serves as a student mentor to the high-school science outreach program Pitt Data Jam, a student ambassador for the Honors College and vice president of the Pitt Philosophy of Science Club. She volunteers to collect litter in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood through Pitt Trash Talk; works through the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society to create and donate handmade toys to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, as well as dog toys for local animal shelters; and creates and teaches choreography through the Pitt Ballet Club.

“I feel very proud and very confident just to know that my ideas seemed valuable and promising” to the Beinecke scholarship committee, Farrell says. “Beinecke was interested in what I wanted to do and what I wanted to explore. It’s really nice to know that I can pursue the academic work that I’m interested in and not worry too much about financial support.

“Science is a thing that people are doing,” she adds. “Studying philosophy of science can help connect people to the human aspect of science.”

About the Beinecke Scholarship:

The Sperry and Hutchinson Company created the Beinecke Scholarship Program “to provide substantial scholarships for the graduate education of young men and women of exceptional promise,” the company stated. “The program seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Since 1975 the program has selected more than 590 college juniors from more than 100 different undergraduate institutions for support during graduate study at any accredited university.”