Baylor Senior Awarded Prestigious British Marshall Scholarship

December 9, 2019

University Scholar Lawson Sadler will seek a master’s degree in migration and global development at the University of Sussex

WACO, Texas (Dec. 9, 2019) – Lawson Sadler, a senior University Scholar at Baylor University from San Antonio, has been selected as one of 46 American university students to receive the prestigious 2020 Marshall Scholarship. The award announcement was made today by the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission, which includes eight regional committees who select the recipients.

Marshall Scholarships finance up to 50 young Americans of high ability to study for a degree at a United Kingdom institution in any field of study. The Marshall Scholarship was established in 1953 to express British gratitude for the European Recovery Program after World War II. As future leaders, with a lasting understanding of British society, Marshall Scholars strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions.

Through the one-year Marshall Scholarship, Sadler will study for a master’s degree in migration and global development at the University of Sussex, where she will research comparative U.S.-U.K. immigration policy. After completing her degree, she plans to return to the U.S. to attend law school and pursue a career in public interest law and public service.

“I decided to apply for the Marshall Scholarship because I wanted to expand my understanding of migration policy beyond my experiences in the United States,” Sadler said. “The Marshall Scholarship offered me the opportunity to pursue this degree with the support of a historic and innovative scholarship program. I felt that my interest in international cooperative migration policy and the founding principles of the Marshall Scholarship coincided beautifully. It is an honor to be a part of a program dedicated to developing the academic, ambassadorial and leadership potential of young Americans from diverse backgrounds – in service of the common good of the modern international order and the U.S.-U.K. special relationship.”

Sadler is one of two Texas university students and one of four Big 12 university students who have been named Marshall Scholars. She is the fourth Baylor student since 2001 to receive the scholarship.

“Lawson Sadler has met the highest standards our undergraduates can achieve in leadership, academic excellence and public service,” Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., said. “As a University Scholar, Lawson has excelled under the direction of our finest faculty, concentrating in Latin American studies, political science and Spanish while integrating her classroom studies with impressive academic and service pursuits. We believe Lawson is capable of distinctive leadership that will address and solve complex challenges in immigration policy, and that she will sustain a meaningful relationship between the U.S. and U.K. at every point in her career.”

“The Marshall Scholarship is difficult to win. Fewer than 50 are selected from among the finest students at the nation’s premier institutions for the opportunity to complete graduate study in the U.K. and devote themselves to strengthening the special relationship between our two countries,” said Andrew Hogue, Ph.D., associate dean for engaged learning in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences and the campus Marshall Scholarship representative. “Lawson is one of the most impressive people I have met, someone of keen intellect, deep compassion for displaced and marginalized neighbors, and clear resolve to use her gifts for the good of others. She is, in short, the kind of person who is admired by anyone who knows her, and it is thrilling that the Marshall Commission has seen what many of us around here knew already.”

“Out of my comfort zone”

Baylor is well known for its transformational undergraduate education, where undergraduate students develop their leadership potential, explore their faith and beliefs, increase their desire for wisdom and prepare for service in a diverse and interconnected global society. Sadler said she felt that commitment when she visited Baylor as a senior during the University’s Baylor2Baylor Law interview and Invitation to Excellence weekend. Everyone she encountered, she said, from the admissions team to each student, staff and faculty member, made the campus feel welcoming. She also was encouraged by faculty to apply to the University Scholars program, which accommodated her interdisciplinary interests.

“I left after that weekend with an intuition that studying at Baylor would challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone,” Sadler said. “When news of my admission into the Honors College and the Baylor2Baylor Law Scholars program came in the following weeks, I knew that Baylor was where I needed to be.”

At Baylor, Sadler is involved in numerous academic and extracurricular activities, including serving as a peer tutor with Baylor’s Academic Support Programs; a leader with the Baylor High School Project, a service organization that pairs students to serve as mentors and tutors in Waco ISD classrooms; and a Peer Ambassador with Baylor's Center for Global Engagement, developing rich friendships with international students attending Baylor.

Since the first week of her freshman year, Sadler has competed as a policy writer and debater on the award-winning Baylor Model Organization of American States (MOAS) international team. As a sophomore, she was elected president of the Southern Region Model and was awarded Outstanding Chairperson the following year. She also led a team of 15 students as head delegate to bilingual conferences in Costa Rica and Washington, D.C.

“Aside from her superior academic qualities and her leadership and ambassadorial potential, Lawson is an engaging and empathetic person,” said Joan E. Supplee, Ph.D., The Ralph L. and Bessie Mae Lynn Professor of History and director of Baylor’s MOAS program. “She works hard to put her intellect at the service of others. Her MOAS teammates admire and respect her as a leader and an example to follow rather than envy and resent her successes. She is remarkable and approachable at the same time. It takes a special person to pull that off. That is Lawson to a T.”

Social innovation lab on child migration

Sadler also enrolled in Baylor’s multi-semester social innovation laboratory on child migration that brings together an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students to address the challenges of child migration from Mexico and the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador). As part of this lab, Sadler led a collaborative effort among students, faculty and practitioners to develop a live online resource map of the Rio Grande Valley, and contributed to a forthcoming children’s book, “A Journey Toward Hope.” The book provides English-speaking children and their parents a thought-provoking, sobering picture of the harrowing journeys faced by Central American families forced to leave their homes on a northbound migration.

In addition to her academic work, Sadler spent a summer as one of six Baylor-supported students interning with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty, where she directed a bilingual summer education program for low-income Latinx students at Sacred Heart Center of Richmond, Virginia. This past summer, she worked with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition of San Antonio as an overnight staffer at their emergency shelter for migrants, acting as an interpreter and volunteer coordinator during evening shifts and communicating in Spanish and Portuguese.

“I know Lawson well. I have seen her keen intellect, her impeccable research and writing skills, her character and her commitment to public service,” said Victor J. Hinojosa, Ph.D., director of the Global Migration Project as part of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty and associate professor of political science in the Honors Program at Baylor. “In our work together, Lawson has sought to understand the Central American refugee crisis, which has seen more than 500,000 children and families come to the United States from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to seek asylum. She has endeavored to understand why these children and families flee, what they experience along the journey and what challenges they face upon arrival in the United States. Her commitment to these issues is not merely academic. It is deeply personal, rooted in her own sense of self and in her desire to serve others.

“She is among the top 1% of students I have taught during my 15 years in Baylor’s Honors College and will be an exceptional Marshall Scholar and will make a difference as a scholar and practitioner for decades to come,” Hinojosa said.

In addition to Supplee and Hinojosa, other faculty and staff who were instrumental in Sadler’s academic life at Baylor and in the Marshall application process include Richard Jordan, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science; Elizabeth Vardaman and Kristen Escobar, Ph.D., in the Office of Engaged Learning; and Andy Hogue, Ph.D., and Daniel Benyousky, Ph.D., director of major fellowships and awards, who now lead the SPARK (Scholarship Programs, Awards, Research, Knowledge) program at Baylor.

“The common thread of all Baylor professors and faculty I have studied under and worked with over the years is their infallible dedication to the intellectual and character development of their students,” Sadler said. “I count myself lucky and blessed to attend a university that fosters impactful relationships between students and mentors.”

During the fall semester, Sadler is taking part in the Baylor in Washington semester program, which has allowed her to conduct research and policy analysis as part of an internship in the nation’s capital. She will enroll at the University of Sussex in fall 2020.

For students interested in national and international merit awards:

While the Baylor classroom serves as the cornerstone of academic excellence and a rich undergraduate experience, Baylor undergraduates also are supported by the SPARK (Scholarship Programs, Awards, Research, Knowledge) program, housed within the Engaged Learning Office in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. SPARK faculty and partners mentor students as they pursue national and international merit awards – such as the Fulbright, Truman, Gates Cambridge, Marshall, Rhodes, Boren, Goldwater and many others – that will enrich their education. For more information about national and international scholarship opportunities through Baylor, visit

For more information about the Marshall Scholarship, visit


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.