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December 21, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida senior has become the first UF student to win a Marshall Scholarship to study as a graduate student in the United Kingdom.

Steven Robinette, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, is among 35 winners in the U.S. from such prestigious U.S. universities as Yale, Duke and Princeton.

“The University of Florida is proud to count Steve as one of its best and brightest,” said Kevin Knudson, director of the University Honors Program. “The Marshall Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards conferred on American undergraduates. This is a tremendous honor for Steve and a testament to the quality of the education UF offers.”

Robinette, who will receive his bachelor’s degree in May, has pursued research projects in the field of metabolomics with Art Edison at UF, Rafael Bruschweiler at Florida State University and Frank Schroeder at Cornell University. His work has been documented in six peer-reviewed publications.

Robinette spent his junior year as a Barry M. Goldwater scholar at Imperial College London working with Jeremy Nicholson’s group developing computational methods in metabolomics and will return to Imperial to apply his previous work to identify small molecule markers of stem cells. Outside of the lab, he volunteers at Art Edison’s 4-H Science Club for elementary students.

Son of an Air Force flight surgeon, Robinette grew up across the United States and abroad, living in five states and Japan, before graduating from high school in Niceville, Fla.

Other members of this year’s class of Marshall Scholars will pursue graduate degrees at the top U.K. academic and research institutions in fields varying from music composition to Islam studies, human rights law to chemistry, city design and social science to international relations, and politics to astrophysics.

Named for Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Marshall Scholarship Program began in 1953 as a gesture of gratitude to the people of the United States for the assistance that the U.K. received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. The scholarships offer talented young Americans the chance to study for up to three years at a U.K. university of their choice. Today, the Marshall Scholarships continue to serve not only as a living gift from the U.K. Government to the U.S. for the Marshall Plan, but also as a way to deepen and strengthen the transatlantic relationship through education and cultural exchange.

Since the program’s inception, more than 1,500 young Americans have become Marshall Scholars. Prominent alumni include Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Applebaum, inventor Ray Dolby and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.