Auburn University senior named Gates Cambridge Scholarship finalist

Mary-Catherine Anderson, low res fileAUBURN UNIVERSITY –Auburn University senior Mary-Catherine Anderson of Huntsville has been named a finalist for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship to do post-graduate work at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Anderson, a senior in cellular and microbial biology in Auburn’s College of Sciences and Mathematics, has a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and has conducted research under the direction of Mike Squillacote, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry. She will graduate in May and, if awarded the scholarship, will pursue a master’s degree at Cambridge in biological anthropology with a focus on human development and epidemiology.

This is the second consecutive year an Auburn student has been named a finalist. Last year, Paul Bergen, a 2012 graduate, was named Auburn’s third Gates Cambridge Scholar. The scholarship program is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates through the Gates Cambridge Trust. Nearly 1,000 students and recent graduates from the United States applied this year; the trust has invited only 90 to interview in Seattle in late January and early February for 40 available scholarships.

“We are proud and excited that Mary-Catherine has joined recent Auburn graduates in being named a Gates Cambridge finalist,” said Melissa Baumann, Auburn assistant provost and director of the Honors College. “She is dedicated to Auburn’s land-grant tradition of improving the lives of the people of Alabama and the world, and her studies at Cambridge will focus on biological anthropology and improving health care delivery for underserved populations.”

In addition to academic achievements, Anderson is an accomplished blue-grass musician, having produced a self-titled extended play musical album of her own songs. For the past three years, she has performed concerts at Magnolia Place Assisted Living Home and has logged hundreds of hours as a volunteer at Bonaparte’s Retreat, a dog rescue facility in Nashville founded by Grammy Award winner and Country Music Hall of Famer Emmy Lou Harris.

“The Mary-Catherine I have come to know and respect should first and foremost be described as a humanitarian, scholar and musician, a genuinely kind and thoughtful young woman with a true servant’s heart,” Harris said. “She is an exceptional young lady on an amazing journey, and I have been blessed to be a part of that journey.”

Paul Harris, Auburn’s associate director for national prestigious scholarships, said, “Mary-Catherine has not only taken the time to thoroughly research her proposed program of study at Cambridge, she has also developed close relationships with the biological anthropology faculty at Cambridge.”

Gates Cambridge Scholarships are awarded to college students and recent graduates 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.

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