Auburn University senior awarded Gates Cambridge scholarship

AUBURN – Auburn University senior David Harris has been awarded a Gates Cambridge scholarship, a full-cost award for full-time graduate study and research at the University of Cambridge.

Harris, a senior in chemical engineering who will graduate in May, holds a 3.97 grade point average. He plans to pursue a master’s in advanced chemical engineering at Cambridge. He has also received the Goldwater Scholarship, a national award for undergraduates in the fields of science, technology, mathematics and engineering.

“The chance to study at Cambridge is really a dream come true,” said Harris. “Studying abroad at one of the oldest and most famous universities in the world will be an incredibly rewarding experience. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview for the scholarship last week in New York, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear the good news so quickly.”

The scholarship program is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates through the Gates Cambridge Trust. Between 80 and 100 students throughout the world receive the scholarships each year since the program began in 2000. Almost 1,000 scholars and alumni from more than 90 countries have been awarded this scholarship, which is given to scholars from any part of the world outside the United Kingdom.

“David Harris is, without question, one of the best of the best, an absolute role model for a fine, well-rounded young man, one who, even at his young age, is vitally aware of who he is, where he comes from, and where he would like to go, both personally and professionally,” said Auburn University Honors College Director, Jim Hansen.

Gates Cambridge Scholarships are awarded to college students based on four criteria: intellectual ability; leadership capacity; a desire to use their knowledge to contribute to society throughout the world by providing service to their communities and applying their talents and knowledge to improve the lives of others; and demonstrating a good fit between the applicants abilities and aspirations to the graduate program.

“He is most deserving of this prestigious honor, as he has made a significant impact in a number of areas during his time at Auburn,” said┬áMark Byrne, Daniel F. & Josephine Breeden Associate Professor and chemical engineering student chapter advisor. “He has done excellent biomedical research work in my lab, and I am thrilled that he will have the opportunity to continue his engineering education in this elite program.”

“The competition for the Gates Cambridge is intense, with approximately 800 applicants from the United States for 2011,” said Paul Harris, associate director for National Prestigious Scholarships. “From that number, the Trust invited 90 to interview, out of which 30 scholarships were awarded.”

“His motivation for doing world-class research is so extraordinarily strong, his promise is so unparalleled, that I feel confident in predicting that David will accomplish something awesome and huge in his life’s work, even a possible Nobel Prize,” said Hansen.

Contact: Jim Hansen, (334) 844-6628 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (