Georgetown University alumnus Brian Ferguson—who was wrongfully incarcerated for homicide and served 11 years of a life sentence before being exonerated—is one of 48 students nationwide to be awarded a Marshall Scholarship. Ferguson will use the scholarship, aimed at strengthening ties between the United States and the U.K., to pursue a master’s degree in comparative social policy at Oxford University.
Building on his Georgetown experience
Ferguson says completing his college degree was “of paramount importance” upon his release from prison, adding that “having the opportunity to earn my degree and contribute in my own way to Georgetown’s rich history of excellence and service to others is really a dream come true.”
As a Georgetown undergraduate, Ferguson created Start Line, a nonprofit that “allows those who have been incarcerated to identify, locate, and rate critical housing, employment, and other social service resources.” He also collaborated with the Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative to install the Paralegal Fellowship Program and to bring “unprecedented second-chance educational opportunities” to incarcerated students through the Georgetown Prison Scholars Program at the DC Jail. Currently, Ferguson is the director of the DC Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs.
Focusing on policy and criminal justice reform
At Oxford, Ferguson will study international policy and criminal justice reform, and says he aspires to continue his education at Yale Law School or Georgetown Law.
Ferguson hopes to someday “establish a social justice consortium of top level universities in countries” like the U.K. and Sweden “to develop policy and create programming designed to remove racial and socioeconomic barriers, especially for those involved in the criminal justice system.”
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