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Senior Spencer Wilson named Marshall Scholar

Mechanical engineering major will attend Cambridge University next year for graduate study.
Spencer Wilson
Spencer Wilson
Photo: Allegra Boverman

MIT senior Spencer Wilson has won a Marshall Scholarship to undertake two years of graduate study in the United Kingdom.

Wilson joins MIT seniors Elliot Akama-Garren and Anisha Gururaj, as well as recent alumnus Noam Angrist ’13 — all of whom were named Rhodes Scholars on Nov. 23 — among the Institute’s winners of distinguished fellowships this year.

The Marshall Scholarship, which was established in 1953, allows talented American students in all fields a chance to pursue graduate work in the U.K. Wilson is one of 31 new Marshall Scholars nationwide announced this week.

Wilson, who is majoring in mechanical engineering at MIT, will attend Cambridge University next year, where he will pursue an MPhil in engineering followed by a MASt in applied mathematics. Wilson hopes to pursue a career in academic engineering, drawing on his knowledge of mechanical engineering, applied math, and computer science.

Wilson, a native of Moultrie, Ga., grew up building and tinkering, restoring a Volkswagen bus and repairing bicycles as a teenager. At MIT, Wilson has been an undergraduate researcher in the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity and at the Center for Bits and Atoms, where he worked on large-scale rapid prototyping.

“I’m delighted to see Spencer receive this recognition,” says Neil Gershenfeld, director of the Center for Bits and Atoms. “His interest in both the technology and social impact of ‘geoprinting’ for rapid prototyping on geological scales has great promise for transforming disaster response.”

Last year, Wilson was an intern at Otherlab, a California-based group with projects ranging from robotics to renewable energy. At Otherlab, Wilson, an avid cyclist, worked on bike-fabrication technology that would allow people to easily build customized bicycles.

Wilson is also a filmmaker and enjoys documenting the world around him through film.

“Spencer is fascinated by unconventional approaches to help discover unique solutions to problems and has explored the process through film, engineering, and rock climbing,” says Kim Benard, assistant director of distinguished fellowships in MIT Global Education and Career Development. “In these ways, he exemplifies the hands-on nature of an MIT education.”

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