My name is Grecia Gonzalez. I grew up in La Puente, CA, USA, the youngest of five children to immigrant parents from Nicaragua. I have just earned my B.A. degree in Chemical and Physical Biology at Harvard University. I will pursue my PhD in Biochemistry at Cambridge under the supervision of Professor Ben Luisi. Beyond my coursework I am an avid researcher and educator. I have been very fortunate to work with amazing researchers in many top-ranked research institutions, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and the University of Cambridge. I am a published author and my thesis research at Harvard is on the cutting edge of RNA NMR spectroscopy and of great importance to current HIV research. In the future, I hope to one day work at the crossroads of science and education policy. Teaching and thinking of new ways to help others understand science are great passions of mine.
I will be working towards a MSc in Pathology with Dr. Nick Coleman. My project involves modeling HPV(Human Papillomavirus)-mediated cervical neoplasia. Specifically, I am interested in those cases which are driven by non-integrated (episomal) HPV. This work will prepare me for a career as a professor and research scientist. In this field, I hope to increase our understanding of cancer and inspire young biologists to pursue this intriguing field.
University of British Columbia
As a young child in Los Angeles, I spent every moment I could in nature. I became a wildlife rehabilitator, tall ship sailor, and Forest Service biological technician. My lifelong religious devotion later led me to study and practice in Jerusalem and the Balkans, two places where faith has a powerful impact on daily life. After my Brigham Young University undergraduate in International Relations and Philosophy, I completed a Cambridge Masters in Muslim-Jewish relations. I then worked in Lebanon and Iraq where I saw the devastating consequences of environmental neglect first hand and realized I could channel my passion for religion and nature toward doing good. During my PhD, I will study the complex dynamic between religion and the environment, particularly how religious action or inaction can change environmental outcomes. Using my own faith background as a starting point, I will seek to understand how theological narratives around ecology are formed, and how they can transform behavior. I hope to advance the cause of unity and peace throughout my career, and am honored to join a community devoted to serving others and creating a healthier world for us all.
University of Cambridge Muslim Jewish Relations 2017
Brigham Young University Utah International Relations 2014
Ninety percent of a child's brain develops by age five and the brain's neural architecture is set by age six. Investment in quality early education services (including parenting programs) has a higher economic and social return than investment in education services at any other age. And yet, early education services remain chronically undervalued, underfunded and underexplored. For my dissertation at Cambridge University, I plan to address these issues by designing a play-based parenting intervention that helps young children develop key higher cognitive capacities, called executive functions. My hope is that this intervention addresses gaps in the research and can be integrated seamlessly into early childhood programming across the health, education, and social service sectors in Brazil and elsewhere. Prior to Cambridge, I worked at the Harvard David Rockefeller Center in Brazil where I led strategy efforts and content re-design of Harvard's Certificate for Early Education Leadership. I also worked as a fellow with the Mayor of Baton Rouge on the city's Cradle to K Parenting Program and lived in Belo Horizonte, Brazil as a Fulbright scholar. I graduated with a Masters in International Education Policy from Harvard in 2019.
Harvard University International Education Policy 2019
Boston College Secondary Education, History 2016
Victoria is interested in exploring the nexus of climate change, human development, and public policy in the Arctic. Her PhD research focuses on how images and aesthetic codes construct values, identities, and ideas of power in the Arctic since the Second World War. From a young age Victoria's grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, has inspired her to pursue a career promoting social justice and empowerment. During her undergraduate degree, she followed that inspiration through two emerging personal interests - art and environmentalism. Through internships at The Smithsonian Institution and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she helped to create programs to bring different, often contentious, communities together through museum educational events. At the Untied Nations and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, she later worked on research, writing, and advocacy for climate justice, urban resiliency in socioeconomically depressed neighbourhoods, and mitigation. Though passionate about art, climate change, and social justice individually, it was not until her Fulbright research that Victoria was able to bring her three disparate interests together. During her year in Canada, she studied how indigenous civil society groups used visual media to empower their voices at climate change negotiations. At Cambridge, she continues this multidisciplinary approach to scholarship by examining the changing visual narratives of geopolitics in the Arctic and its influence on perceptions of power, justice, and agency. As the Alumni Officer Victoria works closely with the Gates Cambridge Alumni Association to connect the scholar and alumni communities.
Growing up in a military family, I knew from a very young age that I wanted to serve in the military. I followed this dream and my passion for engineering to the United States Naval Academy where I studied nuclear engineering. Upon graduation, I was commissioned to serve in the submarine community. I am fortunate enough to continue my education at Cambridge University where I plan to study Nuclear Energy. My research interests include developing new technologies to improve the reliability, efficiency and safety of nuclear reactors, as well as promoting engineering education. In my career, I hope to combine technical and operational expertise learned from the operation of nuclear power plants in the submarine environment to promote the safe use of nuclear energy as a reliable green technology. As a woman in the nuclear engineering field, I hope to inspire girls to pursue science, technology and engineering careers. I am incredibly honored to be a part of the Gates Cambridge scholar program and work together with young leaders dedicated to serving others.
United States Naval Academy
I grew up surrounded by secondhand books in a variety of small Malaysian towns. During secondary school, I got a scholarship to study in Singapore; which led to a BA in political economy in the U.S. and an MPhil in comparative government in the U.K. After that, I taught English in a high-need secondary school through Teach For Malaysia, seeking classroom experience and a re-immersion in my home country. Besides student epiphanies and classroom silliness, one of the greatest gains from those two years was the realisation that teachers' relationships with their managers are pivotal to their classroom practice, and that such relationships are strained in most Malaysian schools. Hence my PhD project: a comparative study on how to keep teachers accountable without triggering the blame games that damage student outcomes. Through this research, I hope to acquire expertise in education policy. I want to help young Malaysians acquire greater mobility, alongside the wisdom to use that mobility well.
University of Oxford
From a young age, I was keenly aware that the neat categories that bound and define our sense of belonging--ideas like "home," "nation," and "family"--were much more complex and difficult for some than for others. My experience growing up as a refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina in Tucson, Arizona, gave me the opportunity to understand how political geography is produced in the everyday, through acts of inclusion and exclusion small and large. When I began my studies at the University of Arizona, I learned that such quotidian experiences were of enormous value to scholars trying to understand how political geographic realities that we take for granted are enacted and reproduced. As an MPhil student in geography at Cambridge, my work has focused on using participatory video to bring out how actually-existing political contestations over urban space and belonging play out among youth in Sarajevo. In my PhD, I hope to continue this engagement in Bosnia and expand it to Istanbul, Turkey, where a set of shared histories and contemporary struggles beckons for research that can think about how young people navigate nationalist politics and everyday material struggles across contexts. My experiences as a Gates scholar have been some of the most enriching in my life, and I am honoured to return to this community.
University of Cambridge Geographical Research 2019
University of Arizona Geography and Africana Studies 2018
Neha is the founder of the Humanology Project, a nonprofit organization with the mission to reduce the stigma of mental & neurological illness by democratizing medical literature and providing a forum for patients to share their story. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2015 with a degree in Modern Society & Global Transformations. Her research investigates the psychosocial and stigmatizing effects of epilepsy on marriage through ethnographic and quantitative studies. In 2015, Neha was the youngest person on the Healthcare List for Forbes 30 under 30.
So far my student life has been a lot of fun both in and outside the classroom. Parallel to studying on both sides of the Atlantic, I’ve run a vigorous student association, managed a nationwide project on European integration and established a monthly for young people. Thanks to the Gates Scholarship I am able to engage in intensive research on social sacrifices made in extraordinary situations. Pursuing this project in Cambridge's unique multicultural environment is a great adventure.
From a young age, I have always been fascinated by the natural sciences. As an undergraduate in Molecular Biomedicine at the University of Bonn, I developed a strong interest in neuroscience. I have worked on several research projects using the fruit fly Drosophila; studying larval feeding behaviour at Bonn, accumulation of evidence prior to decision-making in larvae at HHMI Janelia Research Campus, and attention in adult flies at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. As a PhD student at Cambridge, I will investigate the neural basis of operant learning in Drosophila larvae. This is the process in which an animal learns about the consequences of its own behaviour, leading to reinforcement or suppression of certain actions. I anticipate that these studies will reveal many of the general principles underlying operant learning. This will hopefully lead to a better understanding of operant learning in vertebrate model systems, facilitating the investigation of related diseases, such as learning disorders, neurodegenerative diseases or obsessive-compulsive disorders, and eventually the development of better cures. After my PhD, I plan to pursue a career in scientific research, investigating the fundamental questions in neuroscience to help us better understand how the brain works. In my spare time, I volunteer as a mentor for high school students with exceptional mathematical talent, and am involved in the organisation of mathematical competitions in Germany.
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn
I am a young geneticist who is ambitious about improving healthcare and stratified medicine. At the age of 16, I attended to United World Colleges of Atlantic, an institute with a mission to use education as a force to unite people, nations and cultures for world peace and sustainable future. While at UWC, academically I became interested in studying disease genetics due to its potential to improve the lives of others. Thus, I studied BSc Human Genetics at UCL, where I developed an interest on the genetic basis of complex diseases. Afterwards, I studied MPhil in Genomic Medicine at Cambridge University as a Gates Scholar. During my master's, I worked at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute under Prof Zeggini's supervision on two complex disease bioinformatics projects where I worked with large datasets including UKBioBank. For my PhD, I will be studying the rare and low-frequency variants underlying diabetes using data from several biological levels under the supervision of Dr Langenberg. I am very intrigued about this project addressing the knowledge gap in complex disease genomics, given its potential to improve healthcare and stratified medicine. I am very excited to be a part of the influential Gates Cambridge community again.
University of Cambridge Genomic Medicine 2018
University College London Human Genetics 2017
Young professional, technologist and entrepreneur passionate about overcoming challenges of global scale and relevance through cutting-edge technologies, effective policy and innovative business models.
I graduated from Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in La Paz, Bolivia in 2003 and received my professional licence in 2008. Before coming to Cambridge I worked with the German Archaeological Institute (DAI-KAAK) and the University of California, Berkeley in archaeological expeditions that took me from the Titicaca Basin to the Amazon Forest. Last year I completed an MPhil in Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge. In that time I set the groundwork for my PhD research in the Llanos de Moxos, eastern Bolivia, on the development of early complex societies in the Amazon Basin. I hope that my work will help reveal the unknown history of the present indigenous communities and have a positive impact in developing policies for future heritage and forest management. Parallel to my research I work at FFMV, a small non-profit organisation, that aims to support young Bolivian scholars and promote free access to research resources in the fields of Music, Arts and Social Sciences.
Over the past few years I have worked with and founded educational institutions that provide students with opportunities to engage in hands-on democratic self-governance. As one deeply concerned about the decline of civic participation in developed democracies, these experiences have changed the way I think about political life and the way we prepare young people to take leadership in it. I am passionate about creating new ways to make civic education less rote and more experiential, and I am excited to explore possibilities for this innovation through the MPhil in Politics, Development, and Democratic Education at Cambridge. I hope to draw on this education in my future career: helping schools structurally integrate democratic practices into their administration and pedagogy, creating programs that give young people meaningful governance experience, and empowering students for lives of active civic engagement in their communities and world.
After spending a year teaching at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (http://www.aims.ac.za) I have returned to Cambridge to complete my PhD in theoretical physics. I hope to use my background in physics and education to expand educational opportunities for young people everywhere, especially in the developing world.