Thirteen of the 35 Gates Cambridge Scholars for 2016 are from public universities, and another three scholars are from the U.S. Naval Academy. Our special congratulations to new scholars from the University of Oregon and the University of South Carolina for being the first from the schools to win the award. They and several other winners this year are present or former honors program students.
Gates Cambridge Scholarships are the most generous awards we track. They cover tuition (“composition fees”) of about $30,000 a year at the University of Cambridge for one to three years of graduate study. Scholars also receive annual stipends of about $21,000 for housing and maintenance. Other benefits include the costs of airfare to and from England, conference travel, and annual retreats to the lake country.
Successful candidates must have at least a 3.70 GPA and be graduating seniors or graduates. Although many Gates Cambridge Scholars are STEM students, the award is not restricted to scholars in the STEM disciplines. About 95 scholars are chosen annually from more than 4,000 candidates.
Below are the students from U.S. public universities along with excerpts from the bios each composed for the Gates Foundation:
Sanna Alas, UCLA
Growing up a child of immigrants in the heart of Orange County, I was graced with the so-called hyphenated identity of a Muslim-Syrian-American. That hyphen, the moment of mediation between two seemingly disparate things, has served as the foundation for my academic interests and future aspirations. It fuels my passion for intersectional issues as an activist and advocate for educational and environmental justice in South Los Angeles.
Miriam Alvarado, UC Berkeley
Originally from California, I have been lucky enough to spend the last three years in Barbados studying physical activity and health disparities. I originally came to the Caribbean as a Fulbright Fellow, and was later affiliated with the University of the West Indies, Cavehill….Before coming to Barbados, I was a Post Bachelor Fellow at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation and focused on the Global Burden of Disease and social determinants of health. I received my MPH from the University of Washington, and have a BA in Economics and Development Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
Eric Bringley, South Carolina
I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina loving computers and mathematics for as long as I can remember and grew to love chemistry early in high school. While attending the University of South Carolina, I studied chemical engineering with minors in chemistry and mathematics…. I wish to make contributions to global problems through computational modeling. My PhD will consist of stochastic and multilevel modeling of a variety of chemical systems including combustion engines of biofuels. Eric is a senior in the University of South Carolina Honors College.
Daniel Charytonowicz, Delaware
As an undergraduate Biomedical Engineering student at the University of Delaware, I developed a strong interest in biomedical technologies through a combination of research experiences and self-started software development projects. I have always had a passion for computer related technologies, and am looking for ways in which to apply this knowledge towards expanding the capabilities of modern healthcare. Daniel is a senior in the University of Delaware Honors Program.
Ryan DuChanois, Arkansas
Born and raised in a small town in Arkansas, I proceeded to pursue a bachelors of science in civil engineering at the University of Arkansas with a desire to address water concerns around the globe. My undergraduate experience provided water-related research and service opportunities in nations such as South Africa, India, and Ethiopia. These experiences continuously reminded me that many people have limited or contaminated water supply despite the fact water is a fundamental physiological need. Ryan is a senior in the University of Arkansas Honors College.
Amelia Fitch, Oregon
I grew up in Astoria, Oregon, a small pocket of beautiful coastal and temperate rainforest in the Pacific Northwest. During my undergraduate years at the University of Oregon, I worked on two majors, Biology and Environmental Science because I couldn’t choose between the two distinctly different departments. I have both a passion for a mechanistic understanding of the natural world and conservation of these phenomena. During my MPhil in Biological Science, I will pursue this amalgamation of conservation and biology through research in aquatic ecosystems. Amelia is a senior in Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon.
Larry Han, UNC Chapel Hill
As the son of immigrants from China, I had always wanted to reconnect with my roots and study at a Chinese institute of higher learning. Through the Schwarzman Scholars program, I studied public policy and health economics at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Previously, I focused my undergraduate studies in biostatistics and infectious diseases at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. A Morehead-Cain Scholar and Phillips Ambassador, I co-lead an NIH-funded randomized controlled trial to improve sexual health delivery in Guangzhou, China.
Alex Kong, Kansas
When I was about six years old, I announced to my parents that I would one day be a scientist, unaware of what a scientist actually did. Growing up in Lawrence, Kansas, a mere seven-minute drive from my future university, I was able to learn just that. At the University of Kansas, my love for the sciences deepened, as did my passions for creative writing, performing a cappella music, and pipetting my way to carpal tunnel syndrome. Alex is a senior in the University of Kansas Honors Program.
Joanna Lawrence, Wisconsin
I developed an interest in archaeology as an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin. After I withdrew from my former career as a ballet dancer, my passion to create physical expressions of myself found satisfaction in uncovering the memories of selves expressed in the physical objects they left behind. As an archaeologist, I am interested in the everyday experiences of Bronze Age people in northern Europe.
Matthew Leming, UNC Chapel Hill
I grew up in a Navy family, moving around five different states before attending high school. As a student in the 5-year Computer Science BS/MS program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (with a minor in Russian language!), I became interested in computational analysis of diffusion MRIs of the brain as a means of detecting neurological disorders. This research took me to laboratories in St. Petersburg and London, as well as many hours on Linux machines at the UNC medical school. Matthew is an Honors Carolina student at Chapel Hill.
Connor Richards, UC Riverside
As an undergraduate studying physics at the University of California, Riverside, I worked alongside faculty searching for evidence of new physics at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC)…. My field is elementary particle physics, meaning that I am interested in what makes up the universe at the most fundamental level. Dark matter and other questions about the universe have long fascinated me, and I hope to help answer these during my career. Connor is in the University Honors Program at UC Riverside.
Yevgen Sautin, Florida
I was born in Kiev, Ukraine, lived in Japan as a young boy, and grew up in Gainesville, Florida, where I went to school at the University of Florida. Since childhood I have been fascinated by history. As an undergraduate student, I began studying Chinese, which quickly became a lifelong pursuit. At Cambridge I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Modern Chinese History, researching Manchuria in the early post-war period. At the time Manchuria was a fiercely contested space both geopolitically and in terms of its identity. Yevgen is a participant in the University Scholars Program at Florida.
Daniel Stevens, UCLA
As an undergraduate at UCLA, I fell in love with the language, literature, and linguistics of Ancient Greek. The entire classical world fascinated me, and I enjoyed exploring its mix of cultures and its wide range of both art and philosophical thought….Building upon this work, in my PhD, I will focus on how the concepts of covenant and promise were used in an early Jewish Christian text to provide a group identity and hope for an audience that had previously faced hardship and displacement from their property and were expecting to soon face more of the same.