Born in Rwanda, my earliest memories are of life as a young refugee. I pursued my undergraduate at North Central College on a generous scholarship from the school's board of trustees. During my masters at Yale, I focused on the events that I left behind: mass atrocities and their consequences. For my PhD, I am looking into the experiences of a vastly marginalised group in the African Great Lakes known as the Batwa. I am interested in how colonial and neo-colonial notions of eugenics have turned them into a de-politicized group, one which has no say on its political, economic and social reality. Beyond academics, I continue to be involved in the education space especially in providing quality education for marginalised communities. To this end, I am a co-founder of the Tujenge Scholars Program, a leadership institute, which has sent Burundi students to prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Carleton, Brown, MIT etc. The goal is that this group of young leaders will be responsible for Africa's transformation.
Yale University African Studies 2015
North Central College Political Science 2013
A recent graduate in Political Science and Comparative Human Development, along with a minor in Creative Writing, I am deeply committed to improving education in my native Pakistan. Specifically, the goal is curbing Muslim extremism, and empowering young people with their native identity and values. Since I was thirteen, I have been involved with progressive Islamic schooling. A new type of schooling, it aims to combine secular education with Islamic values to develop ‘well-rounded’ Muslims that abstain from militant extremism. The MPhil in Educational Leadership and School Improvement program at Cambridge, followed by an M.Ed. from Harvard University, will instruct me in various leadership techniques and how they may be adapted to progressive Islamic schools. With this training, I will work at a secondary school and the government in Pakistan. The Gates-Cambridge Scholarship is a lifelong gift, and I hope that I will be able to collaborate with this community wherever I go.
From a young age, I expressed a keen interest in the issues surrounding infectious diseases and global epidemics. As a Biomedical Engineering student at Arizona State University, my interest in epidemiology and its engineering applications were further developed and contextualized by an additional minor in Global Health and a research internship at the Translational Genomics Research Institute. During the course of my PhD in Chemical Engineering at Cambridge, I aspire to develop novel diagnostics for C. difficile, the deadliest superbug in the United States, and C. perfringens, the second leading cause of food poisoning. With C. difficile, there is a direct correlation between mortality and the timing and choice of initial treatment. With the invention of an immediate diagnostic that detects the level of infection, mortality rates may be reduced across global communities.I seek to be a leader in the worldwide pursuit to alleviate the burden of disease on developing populations by delivering technologies that are simple, inexpensive, and—above all else—feasible in their applicable environments. I am grateful to be joining the Gates Cambridge Community and for the opportunity to network with some of the greatest intellects of our generation with the united goal of improving the human condition.
Arizona State University BS in Engineering Biomedical Engineering 2019
I was born and raised in Rwanda, and when I was 14 years old my family was killed during the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis of 1994. Although I was too young to understand its roots, this tragedy would forever shatter my life and shape the person I would become. I graduated from Rwanda’s first School of Journalism and I hold a Master’s in Journalism from Carleton University. I have worked as a journalist in Canada’s major news organizations. I am currently completing a Master’s in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University and have previously worked as an international development worker in Rwanda. At Cambridge, I will be researching further the dynamics of peacebuilding in the context of post-conflict countries in the Great Lakes of Africa, by investigating ways through which international organizations navigate the normative crosscurrents that come with peacebuilding. Centered around the issues of democratization and democratic recognition, this research seeks to explore how international actors respond to post-conflict countries when they express a strong wish to articulate the agenda, the levers they have as well as ways in which they use them. Ultimately, I seek to contribute my perspectives as an African scholar to a better understanding of peacebuilding on the continent and in the world.
Université Nationale du Rwanda
I developed a passion for infectious disease research whilst undertaking my BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Nairobi. Upon graduating in 2013, I was offered an internship at the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme where I did a study alongside the malaria immunology group. I later joined the US Army Medical Research Unit to work alongside the influenza surveillance group. In July 2015, I was offered a Commonwealth Scholarship by DFID to pursue an MSc in International Health & Tropical Medicine at the University of Oxford. Consequently, I worked with the malaria vaccine research group at the Jenner Institute for my thesis project. I also founded the STEMing Africa Initiative to advocate for the active inclusion of women in STEM by supporting talented female graduates in STEM to secure scholarships for advanced degrees at leading universities worldwide. The modest awards from the Western Union, UNESCO, the Forum for African Women Educationalists, and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) helped me to spearhead this program. I also got an opportunity to enhance my leadership skills whilst participating as a fellow in the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship, a flagship programme started by former president Barack Obama to connect young African leaders with leaders from the United States. The Gates Cambridge scholarship will enable me to do a PhD in Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge. I want to conduct a spatial analysis of anthrax occurrence patterns in Uganda using the ecological niche model. Anthrax threatens food security and the economic productivity of Uganda. This study will apply mathematical modelling to develop risk maps to guide the activities of the government and other stakeholders involved in the control of Anthrax in Uganda.
University Of Nairobi
University of Oxford
As ethnically Aromanian poet I am interested in the "personal" and the "social" in poetry, what Carolyn Forché called "poetry of witness". This shaped my work as English lecturer as well as creative writing programme director and workshop facilitator with youth in diverse learning settings. When my poetry pamphlet "Omaynina" earned the national award "Lesnovski Dzvona", I co-founded the literary magazine "Sh". I felt I was thrown into the Macedonian literary scene with the joy and caution of a child jumping on a trampoline. Doing journalism, educational projects for the NGO "Izlez", I was awarded a scholarship for a Balkan ethnic tensions seminar, Sarajevo. During the MPhil project I explored readers' aesthetic and cultural responses to Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and the role of literature in social justice. Expanding my knowledge in the field of the arts practices in the criminal justice system, for my PhD I am working on the arts-based design, delivery and evaluation of a new participatory Spoken Word Poetry Programme (SWPP) for self-development through creative engagement and performance together with young people, the staff and artists/educators in a Macedonian prison.
I have always been fascinated by tiny creatures such as viruses that are capable of launching vicious attacks on our robust immune system. I want to gain a deeper understanding of how viruses engage with its host (us) and the arsenals we deploy to strike back. I did my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Jacobs University in Germany. Early exposure to research and extensive mentoring from my professors motivated me to pursue both on-campus and international research opportunities. I designed polyelectrolyte microcapsules for T-cell staining at Jacobs University and studied the cytokine-mediated death of intestinal organoids to understand the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease at NYU. For my thesis, I investigated the role of cathepsin K in the choroid plexus of mice brains. I also worked at a start-up company in Frankfurt conducting cognitive and neuroscience research. Simultaneously, I have explored my passions for science writing, education and health access, and community service. I served as an Assistant Editor in ‘The Journal of Young Investigators’ where I reviewed scientific manuscripts submitted by undergraduate researchers. I also served as the President of ‘Explore Bremen’, a student-initiated outreach club that mentors socio-economic disadvantaged and refugee kids. I am actively involved in science communication through blogging and graphic designing to help science reach a wider audience. At Cambridge, I am working in the lab of Dr. Mark Wills to investigate the modulation of Natural Killer (NK) cell responses by HCMV. Since HCMV infection can be fatal in immunocompromised patients, therapeutically targeting the viral reservoir via NK cells could have far-reaching clinical implications. I am incredibly honored and excited to be a part of the passionate and dynamic Gates Cambridge community.
Jacobs University Biochemistry and Cell Biology 2019
Growing up between Japan and the United States, I have sought to better understand how culture influences our beliefs and behaviors from a young age. Thus, as an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis, I decided to study anthropology. During the course of my studies, I became increasingly interested in how sociocultural and political economic environments impact human health. Through subsequent coursework and research in biology, I have become fascinated by the intricacy of gene-environment interactions, particularly given recent advancements in epigenetic research. By studying for a MPhil in Applied Biological Anthropology at Cambridge, I seek to formally integrate my interests in biology and anthropology to explain human variations in disease susceptibility. My ultimate goal is to help eliminate disproportionate disease and mortality burdens in historically disenfranchised communities by characterizing the biological impact of chronic trauma caused by experiences of institutional oppression. I am incredibly thankful to the Gates Cambridge Trust for providing me the opportunity to join a community of scholars from around the world who are passionate about becoming leaders in a diverse range of subjects. I hope that together, we can maximize our collective impact on the world.
Washington University in St. Louis
From a young age, my mother taught me the importance of exercising the right to vote. Years later, as a volunteer on Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, I saw the challenges of voting firsthand: confusing registration forms, long lines, and malfunctioning voting machines, among others. I studied election reform efforts as a Political Science major at Stanford University and continued to focus on issues of civic engagement and political participation through positions at The White House Office of Public Engagement and on the 2012 Obama campaign. I completed an MPhil in Public Policy at Cambridge as a 2014 Gates Scholar, which deepened my understanding of policymaking and allowed me to explore the intersection of government, technology and public policy. I am currently drawing on these skills in my new role at the American Civil Liberties Union, and I will be continuing my education later this year as I enroll at Yale Law School.
This year at the University of Cambridge, I will be receiving an MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Claire Hughes. During my time in Cambridge I will be working on Dr. Hughes' "Toddlers and Up" project, a longitudinal study that examines young children's learning profiles. By looking at young children with high levels of inhibition and social anxiety, I hope to compare their performance on executive function tasks to their more outgoing peers.
I completed my MPhil in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies at the Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies in 2015/16. My research focused on the ways young women use online technologies to engage in feminist thought and action and explored how these online practices are affecting feminist political progress.
I now work in Australia as a political advisor to Tanya Plibersek MP, Deputy Opposition Leader, Shadow Minister for Women and Shadow Minister for Education. In this role I am lead advisor on women's policy and also work on schools funding policy.
Prior to coming to Cambridge I worked as a Social Policy Advisor at the Australian Treasury, specialising in schools policy, early childhood education and care and parental leave policy.
Previously I worked as research manager for the global food and water security program run at Australian public policy think tank Future Directions International.
University of Western Australia
Though I was born in Bangladesh, my family moved to Canada when I was three years old. I grew up using stories to puzzle out my place in the world. My love of classics began in my high school Latin class, and in completing my BA in Classics and History at McGill, I gained greater critical perspectives and practical skills. I took part in an archaeological dig in Southern Italy, and adapted and directed a play from Ancient Greek into English. I learned that studying the ancient world could be done in an outward facing way and learned to share these stories with a wider community. I also worked with youth engagement in politics confronting the barriers to democratic participation for young people. To find solutions, I turned to the ancient world and became interested in the lives of adolescents in a world where their roles in society were much less clearly defined, and yet parallel to our own in their liminality. In classics, I seek to understand the voices that have gone unheard for too long- youth, women, the working classes. All these intersecting identities have deep ties to my own story. I believe that better understanding the ancient world might give us the critical vocabulary to solve problems in our modern age as well.
McGill University Classics 2020
At Syracuse University, as a dual Biology and Judaic Studies major, I developed a deep-seated curiosity about human biology and disease alongside my study of the humanities. My early exposure to research led me to secure both on-campus and international research opportunities. I conducted pharmacological research with faculty at Upstate Medical University and cancer research at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. I will complete my undergraduate thesis on the role of a protein (erlin2) on intracellular protein degradation of the IP3 receptor. At Cambridge, I will be working with Dr. Paul Lehner to identify novel cellular receptors manipulated by viruses, which teaches us about viral pathogenesis. This work is of great importance because it has the capacity to lead to novel therapeutic approaches by targeting newly identified receptors. The lab uses proteomic approaches alongside genetic screening in human haploid cells. Further, silencing a retrovirus and looking at the viral transport/repressor complex is used to discover functions for previously identified and unidentified genes. In the future, I plan on attending medical school to inform my research as a physician-scientist and become a viral oncologist. Moreover, as a Bukharian woman, and as the first person to attend college from both sides of my family, I look forward to sharing my experiences and supporting the academic and professional goals of young women from traditional, immigrant communities worldwide.
Born in Israel, I moved to the United States when I was four years old and grew up mainly in Boston. Attending the Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS) in Boston was a pivotal point in my life. PROMYS is a six week summer program where high school students learn mathematics, specifically number theory. Here I found my passion for number theory and mathematics in general. Later summers I returned as a counselor and eventually served as head counselor. Through this I realized how excited I am to mentor and teach mathematics. At Carnegie Mellon University, I completed a major in mathematics and minor in computer science, further fueling my interest in mathematics and mentoring. In addition, I joined Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity, and took on various leadership positions that made me grow closer to my Israeli heritage and cultural identity. I also took courses in Japanese language and culture to learn more about cultural differences and to further contextualize my identity. I am excited to attend Cambridge and take Part III of the Mathematical Tripos where I will delve into number theory, an area I am deeply interested in. After my time at Cambridge, I plan to attend a Ph.D. program in the United States and eventually become a professor. All the while, I hope to make contributions through teaching and mentoring just as PROMYS made an impact on me.
Carnegie Mellon University
Caroline is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College. Her research focuses on cognitive neuroscience approaches to memory, perception, and neurodiversity.
Caroline received her BA from Columbia University in 2009, where she studied neuroscience and philosophy. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2013, as a Gates-Cambridge Scholar and NIH-Cambridge Fellow. At Cambridge, Caroline worked in the labs of Dr. Chris Baker at the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen at Cambridge. She performed her postdoctoral research in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT with Dr. Nancy Kanwisher, where she held a junior fellowship in the Harvard Society of Fellows. Caroline was named a fellow of the American Academy of Achievement (2014), a NARSAD Young Investigator of the Brain and Behavior Foundation (2015), and a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (2016).
Soon after I finished my undergraduate studies in classical music, my focus shifted from opera performance to education during times of conflict. In 2013, I completed a Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship in Jordan, where I researched and implemented music education programming for displaced children and youth. In the three years that followed, I worked throughout the Middle East primarily as a consultant for government, UN and international organizations on projects to support youth education, gender equality and economic engagement. These experiences solidified my commitment to advancing outcomes for young people in the region, while also raising difficult questions about the potential for humanitarian efforts to unintentionally harm those they aim to help. This dilemma is at the heart of my doctoral research on education and conflict in Syria, which will examine how wartime politics both shape and are shaped by education and international aid. By addressing these fissures, my hope is that research of this kind will contribute to bringing about safer, more meaningful and just educational opportunities for young people affected by conflict in Syria and beyond.
University of Rochester
University of Cambridge
Growing up in Asia and North America, I straddled two worlds, often to find myself an outlier in both. From a young age, I used my personal story as an opportunity to make sense of the world, and to unpack my lived experiences to understand racial, class, and gendered oppression. Professionally, I have worked with and learned from diverse communities and epistemologies - from Shan refugees in the Thai Highlands, to smallholders affected by deforestation in Laos, to Indigenous land defenders in Canada. Academically, I focused on the spatialities of anti-racism and transnational prison justice movements. In my PhD, my research focuses on cross-border environmental, racial, gender, and class inequities within the prison industry. By positioning prisons as products of settler-colonialism, I examine carceral oppression as not only 'a US problem' but a global issue fueled by neoliberalism, climate change, globalization, and racial hegemony. Through Gates Cambridge, I will study how decarceration can serve as the entry point to reconcile local and global injustices. Ultimately, I aim to join other scholars who wield their research to inspire a society - beyond ephemeral hashtags and performative allyship – towards dignity and justice.
University of Cambridge Sociology 2020
McGill University Honours Geography 2017