Marblehead Dollars for Scholars recipient Madison Bates excels at college

Madison Bates had interests in writing, English and political science when she entered Johns Hopkins University four years ago and her parents had instilled in her a love for nature and the environment at an early age. In time, she discovered international studies was the perfect fit and declared it as her major and environmental studies as a minor. Influenced by amazing professors, she took courses in environmental regulation and economics and developed a passion for the law that she will pursue in the future, as the recent college graduate embarks on her career path. 

Madison Bates, a 2023 Marblehead Dollars for Scholars recipient, is embracing her passion for international and environmental studies at Johns Hopkins University. COURTESY PHOTO

Challenged academically, Bates worked hard and loved being part of a community comprised of passionate, driven students on the Baltimore, Maryland campus of the private research university. 

She studied politics, leadership, writing and democracy and thoroughly enjoyed a constitutional law class where she learned how to read Supreme Court cases and garnered helpful background knowledge on different subjects. 

Embracing the Hopkins culture of getting involved and making the most of one’s college experience, Bates spent four years as a member of an outdoors club that did backpacking and canoeing. She joined the Hopkins Political Consulting Club where she did research on bills going through congress and met with congressional staff to present the club’s research and discuss the bill. 

“I always knew I wanted to study abroad, and I loved the idea of traveling and seeing the world,” said Bates. She spent the second semester of her junior year on a program called DIS Copenhagen, where she had Danish roommates and learned about their culture. The program emphasized exploration and hands-on learning, which enabled Bates to travel to Norway for a food sustainability class she was taking and visit sustainable farms and restaurants in Oslo and surrounding areas. She also took a disaster management class for which she traveled to Portugal for team-building activities.

Thrilled with her first study abroad experience and with the full support of university staff, Bates spent the first semester of her senior year at the University of Cambridge in England. This was a traditional, academic program which required more intensive study. “I got a wide range of experiences (abroad),” she reflects.

Back on campus for her final semester, Bates worked with a history professor on her senior thesis, titled “Social Media and Its Effect on Democracy,” which enabled her to delve into several topics of interest. She was excited to take an environmental engineering class called Case Studies in Climate Change that focused specifically on California. During spring break, the class traveled to Death Valley to hike and explore the changing environments there. She described it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Bates spent her summers during college getting valuable experience for her future career. She worked as a legal intern for Coinbase, a crypto currency exchange platform, where she learned about securities law. She also enrolled in a Duke University law program that offers an introduction to law school for first generation college students. 

“Johns Hopkins was such an amazing experience, it changed my life,” states Bates. “They really emphasize the first-generation, low-income student experience.” 

Entrepreneur, former New York City mayor and Johns Hopkins alumnus Michael Bloomberg, made a major donation in support of FLI (first generation, low income) students several years ago and Bates was a beneficiary. The school provides students like her with mentors called success coaches that help them determine their academic paths.

After graduating in May, Bates is working as an instructor for Outward Bound where she leads Boston-area school children on kayaking and camping expeditions to the Boston Harbor Islands during the summer and fall. 

In November, she moves to New York City where she will start a job as a paralegal working for the Federal U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District. It’s a two-year commitment and she will work in their commercial financial crimes division, which excites her. In a few months she’ll take the LSAT exam in preparation for law school.

Receiving a Marblehead Dollars for Scholars scholarship helped cover Bates’ cost of living in Baltimore and when she studied abroad. She said it was nice knowing that donors from her hometown helped make her college experience possible. “Everything that contributed to my education and future goals motivated me,” states Bates. “I felt really connected to my community and it’s been fantastic having that support.”

President Jac Bentley said the local non-profit organization has always relied on the generosity of town residents to help fund scholarships. “Education empowers individuals and communities to thrive and progress,” he states. “By donating money toward education, Marblehead citizens are investing in the future and unlocking the potential of countless young minds.”

As Bates is ready to step into the next phase of her life, she is grateful for the financial assistance she received from Marblehead Dollars for Scholars. “This was instrumental in getting me to where I am today and it’s given me an amazing four years at Hopkins, so thank you to everyone involved,” she concludes.

Nancy Marrs is a member of the Marblehead Dollars for Scholars Board of Directors.

Nancy Marrs
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