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Elise “Josie” Campbell is a 2021 Marshall Scholar. A senior in music with a minor in Africana studies, Campbell is the first UT student to receive the award since 1983 and only the third since it was launched in 1953.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, announced the selection of Elise “Josie” Campbell as a 2021 Marshall Scholar, a prestigious designation awarded to no more than 50 US students each year to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom. Campbell is a senior in music with a minor in Africana studies. She is the first UT student to receive the award since 1983 and only the third since it was launched in 1953.

Campbell intends to use the award to pursue a two-year Master of Music in cello performance at a London conservatory. She has also been invited to intern with the famed Chineke! Foundation to support her music goals, which include performing with professional chamber music groups and leading a nonprofit organization focused on creating more opportunities for musicians and composers who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color by providing minority children from underprivileged communities with free music lessons, instruments, and mentorship programs, and facilitating community performances.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to represent UT next fall as a Marshall Scholar. I am excited that this opportunity will allow me to be immersed in such a rich musical culture, while simultaneously working to diversify the classical music world,” said Campbell, a first-generation college student from Kennesaw, Georgia.

“Personally, music has changed my life in many ways; it has allowed me to express myself and connect and make art with other people,” said Campbell. “I want other children, especially those who may not have access to music education, to experience the power music possesses.”

Provost John Zomchick celebrated Campbell’s award, saying, “We are thrilled at Josie’s selection as a Marshall Scholar and proud to see her exemplify the Volunteer spirit in her ambitions to bring the gift of music to underprivileged communities. The scholarship will provide her with a fantastic opportunity to continue to grow and develop her talents. Josie’s success will be a beacon for all Volunteers by showing how we can all do big things.”

Campbell, a recipient of the School of Music’s Kline and Presser Scholarships, co-founded UT’s Black Musicians Alliance, which in February produced “Black & Boujee,” a concert celebrating Black students, musicians, performers, and composers. She serves on the UT School of Music Diversity Task Force and the Dean of Libraries’ Student Advisory Committee. She has held leadership positions with UT’s Black Student Union and Women’s Coordinating Council. Campbell studies under Professor of Cello Wesley Baldwin and, in recent years, has been selected for numerous summer music institutes including NYO2 and Sphinx Performance Academy, and, in 2020, the National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Institute, which had its final performance at the Kennedy Center canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She teaches cello at Knoxville’s Joy of Music School, which provides free music lessons to financially disadvantaged and at-risk children and youth. She works as a rehearsal assistant with the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra.

“The past four years Josie has synthesized her passion for classical music and advocacy with this enormous capacity to lead and inspire others,” said Andrew Seidler, the university’s director of Undergraduate Research & Fellowships, which oversees nomination and preparation of UT candidates for the Marshall and other nationally competitive awards, such as the Rhodes and Fulbright. “It’s thrilling to see such a special person recognized in this way and to think about all the good she’s bound to do.”

The Marshall Scholarships were created to strengthen the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom and enhance scholars’ intellectual and personal growth. Past award recipients include multiple Supreme Court justices and Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners. Each Marshall Scholar must hold a first degree from an accredited four-year college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.7 when they take up their scholarship. They receive university fees, cost-of-living expenses, academic, research, and travel grants, and airfare.


Lacey Wood (865-974-8386,