Atticus DeProspo '15

February 25, 2016

Two Cornellians Named 2016 Gates-Cambridge Scholars

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Atticus DeProspo ’15 and Karen Duffy ’13 were awarded the 2016 Gates-Cambridge Scholarship on Feb. 3, which covers the tuition cost of master’s degrees or Ph.D.’s at the University of Cambridge.

The 35 U.S. scholars — selected from a pool of 826 applicants — will be studying in 28 of Cambridge’s academic departments and researching topics ranging from the health ramifications of sugar taxation to bat-borne viruses like Ebola, according to the Gates-Cambridge website.

The scholarship — endowed with $210 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — is distributed to some of “the most academically brilliant and socially committed young people,” according to the Gates-Cambridge website.

DeProspo — an ILR alumnus and member of the men’s varsity soccer team — said he wrote his senior thesis on LGBT inclusion in athletics. He plans to continue his LGBT research by pursuing a master of philosophy degree in multi-disciplinary gender studies at Cambridge.

“I will be specifically conducting a comparative analysis of LGBT rights development in the European Union and the United States,” DeProspo said.

DeProspo added that he hopes to gain valuable social justice research experience through the Gates-Cambridge program.

“I hope to learn how other scholars who are committed to social justice have used their academic experiences to continue to improve the lives of others,” he said.

DeProspo will spend a year at Tsinghua University as a Schwarzman Scholar before starting at Cambridge in the fall of 2017.

Duffy said she studied biomedical engineering at Cornell and was a member of the society for women in engineering, the institute of biological engineering and the Cornell ski club.

Karen Duffy '13

Karen Duffy ’13

After graduation, Duffy said she was part of a two-year rotational program at AstraZeneca and is currently working at a small biotech start-up.

Duffy said she is very excited to pursue a doctorate in molecular biology at Cambridge, because she would not have been able to pursue a Ph.D. without the additional funding supplied by the Gates foundation.

She added that it “will be a really diverse community of amazing students,” with whom she shares similar values.

She said she looks forward to “meeting new people, living abroad, [and] diving into some cool science.”

Duffy added that she hopes to return to the pharmaceutical and biotech industry and to find a research position in the cancer therapy field after she completes her study at Cambridge.

The admissions process “places an emphasis on both outstanding academic ability and social leadership,” according to the website.