Batson, Fox chosen for Gates Cambridge

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The gates of Cambridge are opening for two Yale seniors.

Joshua Batson ’08 and Molly Fox ’08 will pursue post-graduate study at Cambridge University next year after being awarded the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, the International Education and Fellowship Programs office announced Friday. Batson will be earning his master’s degree in mathematics, and Fox will be working towards a doctorate in biological anthropology.

There are 45 Gates Cambridge Scholars from the United States this year.

The scholarship provides funding for tuition for one to three years of study at Cambridge, airfare to and from the United Kingdom at the initiation and conclusion of the course of study and a discretionary allowance to help cover the student’s living expenses.

“It is an extraordinary opportunity not only to pursue their studies at a top research university but also to create networks with like-minded Gates Scholars from around the globe, all hoping to ‘apply their talents and knowledge to improve the lives of others’ as indeed alumni of the program are doing today!” Associate Director of U.K. and Irish Fellowships Kate Dailinger said in an e-mail to the News, quoting from the official Gates Cambridge Scholarship mission.

Batson — who will be pursuing a one-year master’s degree in his current major, mathematics — said the one-year mathematics master’s program at Cambridge is unique in its breadth of classes, with around 80 math classes offered each year, as well as the elite nature of the program, which only enrolls about 100 students.

“I’ll be getting exposure to so many classes so I can broaden out and figure what field I want to study,” he said. “I will meet scholars from all over the world. Different professors at different schools have their own spin on things, so learning from British professors will be nice.”

Batson said he chose to accept the Gates Fellowship over other programs because of the sense of community it provides through frequent small-group meetings of scholarship winners during their time at Cambridge.

Molly Fox will be earning a three-year doctorate in biological anthropology, a field in which she has been conducting research as an undergraduate. Fox said her interest in human evolution was first sparked in high school when she saw the Lucy Exhibit, a display of fossils of some of the oldest known human ancestors. At Cambridge, Fox will be studying the immunogenetic relationship between mother and fetus and the evolution of pregnancy in the context of the life-history theory.

“My field requires a view of humanity from a very large-scale perspective” in order to detect variations in traits between populations and across time, Fox said. “Out of the 35 developed nations, the U.S. is the second-highest in infant mortality but ranks first in expenditure in health care. I feel like going to England will be good.”

Fox said because of her research during her undergraduate education, Cambridge allowed her to skip the master’s program and enter the doctoral program.

Cambridge ranks the best international students who applied to graduate school and turns the list over to the Trust. The Trust then factors in other accomplishments, such as extracurricular and leadership abilities, interviews a select few and chooses the 100 scholarship recipients from around the world. This year, 635 students from the United States applied.

In 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $210 million to the University of Cambridge to establish a scholarship program to bring students, both undergraduate students and recent college alumni, from outside the United Kingdom to study at the University of Cambridge. Since 2001, the Gates Cambridge Trust has awarded 726 scholarships to students from all around the world, or about 100 scholarships per year.

Last year, a record high seven scholarship winners were from Yale. A total of 39 students from Yale have received this scholarship.

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