Mary Beth Day '07 Awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Mary Beth Day '07
Mary Beth Day '07
Mary Beth Day '07 was one of 37 U.S. students recently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. The scholarship allows candidates from any country outside the United Kingdom to pursue masters or Ph.D. degrees at the University of Cambridge. Day is the first Hamilton student to receive a scholarship since the program began in 2001.

Day majored in geoarchaeology at Hamilton and graduated summa cum laude in 2007. She was the first Hamilton student named to the USA Today All-USA College Academic team, a program that honors students who have not only challenged themselves and excelled in their course work, but have extended their academic and broader intellectual abilities beyond the classroom to benefit their schools, their communities and society. She was inducted into Hamilton's chapters of the Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi honor societies and performed as a flutist in the college orchestra.

In 2000, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of Seattle, Wash., donated $210 million to the University of Cambridge to establish the Gates Cambridge Trust. This created in perpetuity an international scholarship program to enable outstanding graduate students from outside the United Kingdom to study at the University of Cambridge.

According to a press release, "The trustees are required to award scholarships on the basis of a person's intellectual ability, leadership capacity and 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."

The press release noted, "Gates Scholars are highly talented young men and women from all over the world studying subjects across the whole range of knowledge including arts, science, humanities, social science, technology and medicine. Their multi-cultural, multi-national presence at Cambridge enlivens and enriches life there, in laboratories and libraries, in classroom discussions, at dining-table debates and on playing fields." In the first eight years of the program, 725 students from more than 75 countries have taken up their scholarships at Cambridge, including more than 300 graduates of more than 100 U.S. colleges and universities.

Day is currently finishing her master's degree in geological sciences at the University of Florida, where her master's thesis examines the paleoenvironmental history of Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia. She plans to continue studying that ecosystem while pursuing a Ph.D. in earth sciences at Cambridge.

Upon completing her education, Day plans to pursue a career in academia in which she can develop a research program dedicated to her interests in human-environment interactions, paleolimnology and climate change.

-- by Molly Kane '09
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