Chemical engineering senior awarded prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship for international study

Senior Amanda Scott has won a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship – a full-cost award for graduate study and research in any subject available at the University of Cambridge. Scott will begin her studies at Cambridge in October 2009.

Scott plans to pursue a master’s degree in advanced chemical engineering in order to gain the training and skills to develop renewable technologies that are both environmentally friendly and economical. At Vanderbilt, she is majoring in chemical engineering and chemistry with minor studies in materials science and mathematics, while also running competitively for the university’s cross country and track teams.

She also created a program partnering Vanderbilt with local not-for profit the Oasis Center to teach science and encourage youth to succeed. Oasis Center helps young people overcome serious challenges, such as homelessness, violence, depression and low self-esteem that prevent them from transitioning into a healthy adulthood.

In 2000 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $210 million to establish the Gates Cambridge Trust, which created in perpetuity an international scholarship program to enable outstanding graduates from outside the United Kingdom to study at the University of Cambridge. The scholarships are highly competitive and the trust seeks to elect 100 new Gates Scholars annually. Typically, 250 to 300 people are interviewed for the 100 scholarships each year. Approximately 40 of the 100 new scholarships each year are awarded to U.S. citizens.

For October 2009 entry to the scholarship program, 752 students from the United States applied and 101 made the short list and the interview round. The trust ultimately awarded 37 Gates Cambridge Scholarships to American students to pursue masters or doctoral degrees at the University of Cambridge beginning this fall.

The scholarships are awarded on the basis of candidates’ academic excellence, a good fit between the scholar and the University of Cambridge, evidence of leadership potential and a commitment to improving the lives of others.

Since the first class of Gates Scholars in 2001, there have been 827 Gates Cambridge Scholarships awarded to students from 85 countries.

For more information about the Gates Cambridge Scholarships, visit