MIDDLEBURY, Vt.- Leda Smith, a 2002 Middlebury College graduate from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is one of 38 successful candidates from the United States to be offered a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. In October 2005, the fifth annual contingent of new Gates Scholars, representing 58 countries around the world, will pursue their graduate studies at the University of Cambridge, England. The first Middlebury graduate to be chosen for a Gates scholarship, Smith will study at Cambridge toward a master's degree in Quaternary science.
The Gates program, established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2001 for scholars living outside of the United Kingdom, has helped more than 200 students complete graduate studies at Cambridge. According to founder Bill Gates, the scholarship was created to encourage the development of potential leaders, highly educated and skilled in research and analysis, with creative approaches to defining and solving problems of injustice around the world.
All entering scholars must have earned at least one degree from another college or university. In the first four years of the program, 428 scholarships at Cambridge have been awarded, 186 of them to students from the U.S. For more information about the Gates Cambridge Scholarship program, see http://www.gates.scholarships.cam.ac.uk. The Web site includes a yearbook profiling all the current scholars.