Shomik Verma Wins 2018 Marshall Scholarship

SUGAR LAND: The UK government announced the 2019 Marshall scholarship Winners for 2019 on Dec 3, 2018. One of the Indian-Americans to win the schorlaship is Shomik Verma from the Houston Area. Verma went to school in Fort Bend ISD and graduated from Clements High School in Sugar Land in 2015. Currently he is a senior studying mechanical engineering at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering and has been named one of this year’s 48 recipients chosen for the prestigious Marshall Scholarship.

Verma was chosen from among more than 1,000 applicants throughout the country and is the 29th Marshall recipient from Duke. He is the fifth Duke engineering student to earn the honor, and the first since 2011. Duke University President Vincent E. Price congratulated Shomik on behalf of the entire university community and mentioned that Shomik has contributed not only in the classroom and lab but also through public service, cultural engagement and residential leadership.

“Shomik stands out among our student organizations’ leadership as being one of the most responsible, involved and passionate leaders that I have seen in over a decade with dozens of student groups each year,” said Linda Franzoni, associate dean for undergraduate education at the Pratt School of Engineering.

Verma has also been selected for a Goldwater Scholarship and a Udall Scholarship earlier this year. Pratt faculty has chosen Verma to be both a Grand Challenge Scholar and a Pratt Fellow, honors that offer extensive lab experience. He was also elected to Tau Beta Pi and serves as co-president of Pi Tau Sigma.

Verma has pursued research in building a hydrogen fuel cell car and leading a Duke student team to a Guinness World Record for the most fuel-efficient human-carrying prototype vehicle ever built. Verma is also president of the Duke Energy Club, through which he has worked with Duke’s Energy Initiative to create three new assistantships for students to do energy research with faculty, and is co-president of the Duke Smart Home, a living-learning community where residents live in a LEED platinum building and work on technological solutions to sustainability issues.

Skilled in playing an Indian classical drum called the tabla, Verma has worked to increase the visibility of Duke’s South Asian music group, Sangeet, on campus. This effort led to their first-ever performance in Duke Chapel during a Diwali service in fall of 2017.

“At Duke, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to ‘live the science’ through various hands-on experiences,” said Verma. “Whether it’s living at the Smart Home, installing solar panels or building high-efficiency vehicles, I’ve seen first-hand the benefits novel energy technologies can have on the environment and human health. Seeing these real-world applications motivates me to pursue a research career to develop innovative solutions to energy challenges.”

Fascinated by the potential of renewable energy technologies to radically reduce human impact on the environment, Verma will join the lab of Dr. Rachel Evans at Cambridge University to pursue his near-term objective of developing novel materials that increase the efficiency of solar photovoltaic cells.

“When I first received the call that I was selected as a Marshall Scholar, I was in utter disbelief,” Verma said. “I had to check my phone’s call history several times to make sure I didn’t dream the whole thing! I’m so thankful for the support of my family, friends and advisors, and I’m beyond excited to spend the next two years in the UK working on developing the next generation of solar technology.”

Marshall Scholarships were established in 1953 by the British government to honor the ideals of the Marshall Plan and the special US/UK relationship.

Marshall Scholarships finance Details on the scholars is available at