54 new Gates Cambridge Scholars selected

Fifty-four of the world's most academically exceptional and socially committed young people from 28 countries have been selected as Gates Cambridge Scholars.

Fifty-four of the world's most academically exceptional and socially committed young people from 28 countries have been selected as Gates Cambridge Scholars and will begin their postgraduate courses at the University of Cambridge this October.

They include the first Scholars from Guatemala, Albania and the Dominican Republic.

Competition for the Scholarships is fierce. The 54 successful candidates were selected from a total pool of 3,535 applicants on the basis of their intellectual ability, leadership capacity, academic fit with Cambridge, and their commitment to improving the lives of others. Departments in Cambridge nominated candidates for the Scholarships and, of these, 106 were interviewed in Cambridge in late March (in person, by Skype or by telephone) by four panels of interviewers drawn from across the Schools in the University. Forty one of these were for PhDs and 13 for MPhils. The Scholarships were split evenly between genders.

The new Scholars include Carlos Gonzalez Sierra who will become the first Gates Cambridge Scholar from the Dominican Republic. He will study for an MPhil in Latin American Studies focusing on transnational political participation and the root causes of inequality in the Latin American diaspora. His undergraduate thesis at Amherst College in the US detailed the prevalence of electoral clientelism, the exchange of goods and services for political support, by Dominican expatriates participating in Dominican national politics within the United States. After graduation, he spent a year organising and engaging voters in immigrant and low-income communities in Chicago and working as a legislative assistant in the Office of Congressman Michael Honda in Washington, DC. He says: “My long-term goal is to eradicate poverty in the Americas by increasing government accountability and implementing more humane social policies.”

Alejandro Rivera Rivera is the first Gates Cambridge Scholar from Guatemala. He will do an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development. After graduating from Brown University in 2012, he returned to Guatemala where he has been at the forefront of the local green building movement, working as the Engineering and Sustainability Coordinator for an architectural firm, and specialising on the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification programme. More recently, intrigued by how the ideas behind green buildings can be extrapolated to entire cities, he co-founded the Guatemalan Network for Sustainable Cities, where he currently serves as Research Director. He says: “I look forward to joining the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development at Cambridge, with the conviction that it will enable me to tackle the ever more complex problems that engineers face in the process of finding sustainable solutions. I hope to use this knowledge to help build better cities in my home country.”

Andi Reci is the first Gates Cambridge Scholar from Albania. He will do a PhD in Chemical Engineering. His main project will focus on applying Magnetic Resonance Imaging in novel applications such as catalyst characterisation and flow of fluids in porous media. These have direct impact in reducing the energy intensity of processes and improving the efficiency of recovery of hydrocarbons from rocks.

The 54 new Scholars span a broad range of countries, from China to Peru. Eight are from Australia, seven from the US, six from India, three from Pakistan, three from Canada and two each from Norway, Nigeria, South Africa. The subjects their research covers range from aortic aneurysms, breast cancer and childhood leukaemia to sexual violence in India, bilingualism and autism, identity and nationhood in Ukrainian modernist writing and sustainable development.

The following institutions have their first Gates Cambridge Scholar: Chinese University of Hong Kong; Columbia University Teachers College, US; Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris; Harrisburg Area Community College, US; Institute of Management Sciences Peshawar, Pakistan; Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy, India; Technical University of Eindhoven, Netherlands; Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Universita Di Camerino, Italy; Universitat de Barcelona, Spain; Universität Göttingen, Germany; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; University of Peshawar, Pakistan; and University of Tasmania.

The 54 Scholars chosen in the International selection round will join 40 new American Gates Cambridge Scholars who were selected after interviews in the USA in February.

Professor Barry Everitt, Provost (CEO) of the Gates Cambridge Trust, said: "We are delighted to have awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarships to 54 outstanding individuals from such a wide spread of countries and backgrounds. The Scholars are truly remarkable and inspiring individuals and showed at interview that they fit the mission of the Scholarship by their commitment to using their academic skills and leadership capacity to improve the lives of others. We look forward to welcoming all 94 new Scholars to Cambridge in October and to seeing their future impact as Gates Cambridge Alumni".

The full line-up can be found here.