UMBC Boasts Three Gates Cambridge Scholars

Students come to UMBC to achieve ambitious goals, knowing they will receive the education and support  they need to be successful and compete with the best. Recently, UMBC alumni won three of 100 prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarships, for a total of four such Scholarships in the past two years.

Considered one of the world’s most selective academic awards, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship fully funds one to four years of graduate study in any field at Cambridge University. Other U.S. winners for 2008 included students from Harvard, Yale, MIT, Princeton and other prestigious universities. The award was established in 2000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Simon Stacey, associate director of UMBC’s Honors College, said, “UMBC starts with two advantages in the hunt for prestigious scholarships: we produce students of the caliber of Philip, Simon and Ian, with the potential to win these very competitive awards; and we have faculty genuinely committed to student success and prepared to do everything necessary to support their efforts.

“At the Honors College, we oversee the application process from start to finish. We identify promising students and work with them to ensure that their applications and letters of recommendation and nomination show them in their best light. If they become finalists, we arrange mock interviews to help them prepare for the interview process,” Stacey said.

UMBC’s 2008 Gates Cambridge recipients:

Ian Ralby ’02 has received his second Gates Cambridge Scholarship in as many years. He graduated with both a B.A. in Modern Languages and Linguistics and a M.S. in Intercultural Communication from UMBC and was Class of 2002 valedictorian. Ralby’s first Gates Cambridge award funded his M.A. in International Relations; he will now pursue a Ph.D. in International Relations. While completing his J.D. at the College of William and Mary in 2005, he was part of a legal team that worked with the U.S. Department of Justice to provide legal research and support for the Iraqi High Tribunal as it prepared its legal case against Saddam Hussein.

Philip Graff ’08, physics and mathematics, will enter Cambridge’s Ph.D. in Physics program. As an undergraduate at UMBC, Graff created a computer model of quasar radiation and worked with one of the world’s most sensitive scientific instruments, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), during a National Science Foundation fellowship at Caltech. His quasar work is the topic of a research paper currently under refereeing with the Astrophysical Journal.

Simon Gray ’08, chemical engineering, will pursue a M. Phil. in Advanced Chemical Engineering. Gray finished high school early and then came to UMBC, where he finished his bachelor’s degree in three years and was named Class of 2008 valedictorian. As an undergraduate, Gray was involved in numerous research projects, including an National Science Foundation-funded program in China. After completing his studies at Cambridge, Gray plans to attend medical school and earn a M.D./Ph.D.

Learn more about the Class of 2008.

Learn more about UMBC achievements.