Four Harvard Students Receive Gates Scholarships

Harvard has claimed four of the 29 Gates Cambridge Scholars this year—more than any other American university.

Charles R. Melvoin ’10, Thomas M. Barron ’09, John Kapusta ’09, and 2006 Harvard Kennedy School graduate Queen C. Nworisara-Quinn will pursue M.Phil degrees in Development Studies, African Studies, Musicology, and Innovation, Strategy, and Organisation, respectively, according to an announcement on Friday.

The scholarship, created in 2000 with a $210 million grant from Bill and Melinda Gates, provides full funding for non-British students to pursue graduate study at the University of Cambridge.

“The Gates [scholarship] envisions a group of folks who have been really well trained at Cambridge who will make contributions in their field and real change in the world,” said Paul A. Bohlmann, the Office of Career Services’ director of fellowships.

Melvoin, a History and Literature concentrator in Lowell House, will focus on studying development in China next year.


“My interest in the culture was really sparked by the movie ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,’ to be honest,” said Melvoin, who has studied Chinese since high school.

Melvoin—who is also a Crimson magazine writer and a member of the College Events Board—said that he hopes to gain the necessary background in economics and development at Cambridge to eventually work in China. He said he plans to participate in crew and live in Jesus College at Cambridge.

Thomas Barron, an Army ROTC cadet at Harvard who is currently training at Fort Benning in Georgia, will put his military service on hold to complete his yearlong degree program at Cambridge.

He said that his plan to study East Africa stems from his personal interest in the region. His parents met in Africa, and his two older brothers were adopted from Tanzania, he said.

Barron, a former Social Studies concentrator who graduated with a secondary field in African and African American Studies, said he plans to work on American foreign policy in Africa.

But before then, he said, he will be deployed to Afghanistan within months of his graduation from Cambridge.

“I see being well educated and a good critical thinker as extremely important to being a good officer,” Barron said.

He added that he views the scholarship as both an obligation and an opportunity.

“It’s very humbling,” Brown said.

John Kapusta, a recent graduate of Harvard’s joint-degree program with the New England Conservatory, is currently studying voice and French classical vocal music on a Fulbright scholarship in Paris, according to the Gates Cambridge Scholarship Web site. Kapusta will focus on performance studies while at Cambridge. He could not be reached for comment last weekend.

Queen Nworisara-Quinn, who graduated with a master’s degree in public policy from the Kennedy School in 2006, has been living in Tunisia this past year while working for the African Development Bank. After Cambridge, she hopes to focus on improving entrepreneurship and investment opportunities in Africa, according to the Gates Cambridge scholarship Web site. She could not be reached for comment.

—Staff writer Stephanie B. Garlock can be reached at