Five Capture Gates Scholarships

Four students and one alum captured lucrative Gates Scholarships last Thursday which will take them to Cambridge University this fall to study topics including international development, chemistry and education.

Scott S. Lee ’03, Joseph S. Markson ’03, Emily R. Murphy ’03, Sarah C. Dry ’96 and Kathleen H. Corriveau, a student at the Education School, are among this year’s 42 American recipients.

Like the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, the Gates Scholarships give full funding for post-graduate study at Cambridge University.

Gates Scholars also receive an additional stipend of over $12,000 and airfare to and from England.

The awards are given by the Gates Cambridge Trust, founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates Scholars are selected for their potential to be “leaders in addressing global problems relating to learning, technology, health and social equity.”

The Harvard winners have diverse fields of study, ranging from experimental psychology to anthropology and religion.

Markson, who plans to pursue a degree in Chemistry before returning for further academic study in the United States, said he was impressed by the focus of the Gates interviews.

“[The interviewers] already knew exactly what I was doing, and almost all of the questions were about my work,” he said.

Lee, an anthropology and religion concentrator, has worked in Kenya for the past two summers. He said he will study international development, and said he is ultimately interested in international health care, particularly in Africa.

“While the Gates Scholarship is a tremendous honor, it’s also meant to be a responsibility for the scholars to realize this commitment to service,” Lee said.

The winners applied to both Cambridge University and the Gates program in November, and then found out that they had been short-listed for interviews in late December.

About 15 Harvard students made the interview round of 130 candidates.

The winners said they appreciated that the Gates, unlike the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, did not require Harvard to endorse their candidacies.

The Gates applicants were interviewed by a panel specifically geared to their academic interests: biological sciences, physical sciences, social sciences or the humanities.

The winners said they were impressed by the collegiality and warmth of the people involved in the Gates process. They contrasted the easy-going nature of the Gates interviews with the more tense Rhodes interviews.

This year’s winners will join the 236 Gates Scholars currently in Masters and Doctoral programs at Cambridge. They come from 54 countries outside of Britain, although the bulk of the scholars are from American universities.

Yale University and Princeton University each had five Gates Scholars this year.