Read the February 2009 Columbia Alumni
This month's edition includes information about Columbia Community Outreach projects, Salmon River rafting and the Presidential Teaching Awards.
Two Columbia University undergraduates, Emily Jordan (CC '09), a double major in psychology and anthropology, and Caroline Robertson (CC '09), a double major in neuroscience and religion, have been named 2009 Gates Cambridge Scholars, a selective award that gives students from around the world a chance to pursue graduate studies at Cambridge University in England.
"I'm absolutely thrilled about the news," said Robertson, who is originally from Chicago. She will enroll at Cambridge as a doctoral student, specializing in the neuroscience of autism. "I find the mission of the Gates Trust very inspiring: It seeks to make social leaders out of academics, supporting research that aims to improve the lives of others. I'm drawn to autism research [because] it addresses some of the most fascinating questions about the mind...and also has a direct application to what is often a very devastating disorder."
Jordan, also of Chicago, will study neuroscience in Cambridge's department of experimental psychology. "The great thing about [Columbia College] is that everyone is required to take classes in music, art, philosophy, literature, science and culture," said Jordan, who never imagined becoming a scientist. Taking psychology classes through Columbia's Core Curriculum, she discovered a love for the science and continued to sign up for classes. "I could no longer deny that I wanted to major in psychology, and that I wanted to be a neuroscientist."
Jordan and Robertson are the eighteenth and nineteenth Columbia students to be awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarships since the program began in 2001; they are the first Columbia College Gates Scholars since 2002.
"Columbia is thrilled to have these two outstanding young scientists headed off to Cambridge to continue their research in cutting-edge labs," said Michael Pippenger, associate dean of fellowship programs and study abroad at Columbia College. "Caroline and Emily feel strongly that their future work can improve the quality of life for those dealing with autism and addiction, and we are excited to see what their studies lead to in the future."
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is given on the basis of intellectual ability, leadership capacity and the desire to use one's knowledge to improve the lives of others at the community and global level. This year, 752 candidates competed for 37 spaces, making the Gates Cambridge as selective as the Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships.
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