From foster care and astronomy to cowboying

  • January 27, 2019
From foster care and astronomy to cowboying

Three Gates Cambridge Scholars will talk about their unique personal experiences at an event on Wednesday.

Three Gates Cambridge Scholars will tell personal stories ranging from a year spent at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, cowboying and life in foster care at an event on Wednesday.

The Scholar Stories session will hear from Rebecca Charbonneau, Erik Rudicky and Rob Henderson.

Rebecca's talk, Where the Wired Things Are: Life Amongst the Radio Telescopes in the Mountain, will focus on the year she spent working at NASA and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) before she started her PhD in History and Philosophy of Science. She says: "I am going to focus on the eight months I spent at NRAO, working and living as a historian amongst scientists in the mountains of Charlottesville, Virginia and Green Bank, West Virginia."

Rebecca [2018] will cover the challenges and surprises of living and working in the National Radio Quiet Zone; the search for extraterrestrial intelligence; and life in Charlottesville in the year after the white supremacist rally.

Erik Rudicky's talk Cowboying for Fun and Profit will address questions such as how does the stereotypical image of a cowboy stack up against the modern reality? How could cowboying change your life and how could you change the ways in which you cowboy to benefit the environment? And what do you need to do to become a cowboy and what if you wanted to run the show and start your own livestock operation?

Erik [2018], who is doing a PhD in Politics and International Studies, will draw on his experience of horse training in California and livestock management in Florida and Montana and talk about holistic management of grasslands and the economic realities of ranching for first-generation ranchers and farmers.

Rob Henderson's talk, Hide These In Your Locker, is about his experience growing up in California. Rob [2018], who is doing a PhD in Psychology, was born into poverty to an immigrant mother. When he was two, his mother’s drug addiction caused him to be placed into the Los Angeles County foster care system. He lived in seven different homes over the next five years. Since then, he says he has reflected on what qualities enable people to overcome adversity. "From foster care, to a broken home, to military service and then Yale, I have found a couple of answers," says Rob, who has recently signed with a literary agency to write a memoir about these experiences. 

*The event on January 30th begins at 7:30pm in the GSCR. Gates Cambridge Scholars and their guests are welcome. Picture credit: Wikimedia commons and -oo0(GoldTrader)0oo-.

 

Rebecca Charbonneau

Rebecca Charbonneau

  • Scholar
  • United States
  • 2018 PhD History and Philosophy of Science
  • Christ's College

Born to a Cuban-American family in Miami, Florida, I was raised in a community shaped by the events of the Cold War, and grew up listening to Space Age stories of revolution, geopolitical conflict, and international relations. This, in combination with my childhood love of astronomy and science fiction, inspired me to pursue a career in researching space history. After graduating with a double major in Art History and Critical Media & Cultural Studies and a double minor in English Literature and Sexuality, Women’s, & Gender Studies from Rollins College, I earned a Master of Science degree in History of Science, Medicine, & Technology at the University of Oxford. At Oxford, I explored the challenges of international scientific collaboration during the Cold War. This deepened my curiosity regarding international partnership in space, so upon completing my MSc, I interned at NASA and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, where I learned more about international space relations, both then and now. When it comes to human endeavors in space, the Space Race tends to dominate popular memory. The reality, however, is that space plays a larger part in our lives now than ever before, due to technologies such as communications satellites and GPS, and the role of space in national defense. I hope to use the knowledge and skills I gain during my time at Cambridge to positively contribute to humanity’s continued expansion into space, by promoting space policy informed by history.

Previous Education

Rollins College
Oxford University

Erik Rudicky

Erik Rudicky

  • Scholar
  • Czech Republic
  • 2018 PhD Politics and International Studies
  • Corpus Christi College

My research project concerns the legitimacy and sovereignty of states and non-state actors in "tribal" societies, particularly in South Arabia. More specifically, the project investigates the relationships between tribes, religious elites and the state, especially where these relationships were altered by large-scale interventions from outside actors and ideologies, or by the discovery of natural resources. I believe that proper understanding of these relationships will have a bearing on the development of location-specific approaches to a variety of societies and contribute to a fairer distribution of humanitarian aid and development funds. I am also interested in the research of desertification, revival of grasslands through improved livestock management practices, access to land for small-scale farmers and the dynamics of rural life. These issues are relevant across the globe and directly affect public health; yet not enough is currently being done to reverse desertification, improve the condition of our grasslands and return farming families into the countryside.I am thankful for the opportunity to join the Gates Cambridge community of scholars. I appreciate the Trust’s mission and very much look forward to the beginning of the academic year.

Previous Education

Middlebury College
University of Cambridge

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