Matt Shafer ’13 and Rachel Kurchin ’13 have been announced as recipients of the 2013 Gates Scholarship, a prestigious scholarship that allows students from outside the United Kingdom to pursue fully funded postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge.
Shafer — who studies in the Philosophy Department at Yale — will pursue an M.Phil. degree in political thought and intellectual history at Cambridge. During his four years at Yale, he has been involved in organizations such as the nuclear weapons abolition advocacy group Global Zero, as well as an independent research project in Cape Town that examined the role of political nonviolence in the anti-apartheid resistance.
A physics major at Yale, Kurchin will pursue an M.Phil. degree in materials science. Kurchin has a background in environmental issues such as climate change and renewable energy and is also committed to the issue of women and minorities in the sciences. She helped organized the Northeast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics in 2012. At Cambridge, Shafer plans to research the theological roots of political nonviolence in the modern West. Kurchin plans to study perspectives from various scientific fields to better understand the science behind renewable technologies.
Along with 88 other recipients of the scholarship this year — 39 of which are from the United States — Shafer and Kurchin will receive funding for the full cost of studying at Cambridge, including all tuition costs, a maintenance allowance and airfare.
Gates Scholarships were established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 with an initial endowment of $210 million. Each year, the scholarship is awarded to 90 recipients out of an applicant pool of thousands.