St. Thomas resident Leah Trotman was awarded a U.K. government’s Marshall Scholarship, the first USVI student in the history of the program to be selected.

Trotman, a graduate of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., will attend the London School of Economics and Political Science during the first year of her scholarship to study international health development with a focus in disaster management, to identify how best to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters on health in the Caribbean and Latin America. In her second year, she’ll pursue an masters degree in Caribbean and Latin American Studies at University College London, to study the historical, political and cultural conditions affecting health decisions.

“Some of my long-term professional goals include serving in an executive role in an international public health agency focused on Caribbean and Latin American health and disaster relief efforts,” Trotman said. “Ultimately, I hope someday to run for Governor of the Virgin Islands, where I would not only strengthen disaster relief, but also the territory’s entire infrastructure.”

Scholarship winners are able to pursue graduate degrees in almost any academic subject at any university in the U.K. The 2021 class will take up their studies at 14 different institutions.

Trotman was one of 46 recipients of the 2021 Marshall Scholarship. For the first time in the program’s 66-year history, the incoming class will be majority-minority, with 52% reflecting minority communities across the United States, including a record number of Black and Latino scholars. A majority of the class are female scholars and six are first-generation college students.

“Marshall Scholarship classes traditionally represent a diverse mix of cultural, academic, institutional and socio-economic backgrounds, but the 2021 class is truly ground-breaking,” said British Ambassador to the United States Dame Karen Pierce. “This class, one of the most diverse and inclusive in the program’s history, is a wonderful mirror of modern American society and demonstrates the vital role that the Marshall Scholarship continues to play in maintaining a vibrant U.S.-U.K. relationship.”