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Welcome to Class of 2023

Congratulations to the Gates Scholars joining Hughes Hall in the new term

The Gates Cambridge class of 2023 comprises 77 scholars – 44 women and 33 men – who come from 32 countries. They will be studying a range of subjects, from sleep patterns and novel therapeutics for cancer to biodiversity and how a group of South American authors grappled with pain through literature.

We are delighted to be welcoming four Gates Scholars-elect to Hughes Hall in October. Dr Carole Sargent, Admission Tutor said:

“We are delighted that Gates scholars Angello, Diksha, Shaffin, and Hannah will be joining the College later this year. Already an international and inspirational student body, these students are warmly welcomed to Hughes Hall and always play a valuable part in our academic – and supportive – community. Their selection, based in part on leadership potential and a commitment to improving the lives of others, is a perfect fit for our college, determined as we are to contribute to wider society through academic excellence and opportunity. I look forward to meeting them!”

From left: Diksha Dewan, Angello Alcazar and Shaffin Siddiqui, who will join Hughes for the new academic year.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme was established through a US$210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. It funds international postgraduate students from across the globe and from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds with the emphasis on diversity of thinking. Together the scholars form a network of engaged academics who are open to sharing new ideas and who understand the urgency of many of the problems facing us.

Professor Eilís Ferran, Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce the class of 2023. Like their predecessors, they are both intellectually outstanding and demonstrate the kind of leadership qualities needed to tackle the complex global challenges we face today.”

Class of 2023

Angello Alcazar, Italy and Peru, PhD Spanish and Portuguese

“I was born in the second largest city located in a desert after Cairo, towards the end of a never-ending dictatorship. Growing up in Lima, I soon learned that Peru was a country which amalgamated many conflicting realities that were not easily reconciled. My drive to address some of these issues and think laterally has been the stimulus for my work as a researcher, journalist, editor and academic consultant. From a young age, my reluctance to yield to well-demarcated routes has broadened my perspectives and motivated me to find my own path while collaborating with others to create change. Covering dictatorship novels, autobiographical writing and the role of emotions in fiction, my three theses have contributed to advance knowledge at the intersection of literature and sociology. At Cambridge, my PhD project will explore how a group of South American authors grappled with pain and dissatisfaction in their artistic and extraliterary experiences through the diary form. By so doing, I hope to shed light on the value of a sentimental approach to adversity in life-writing, as well as the configurations of masculinity that emanate from it. I am deeply indebted to the Gates Cambridge Trust for giving me this unparalleled opportunity.”

Diksha Dewan, India, PhD Chemistry

“Hailing from India, I pursued BSc Honors in Chemistry from St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi, where I recognized the importance of ‘excellence’ and ‘service’. There I got the opportunity to intern at the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) and the University of Cambridge to computationally analyze carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and biomolecules respectively, which opened to me multiple avenues to perform experiments sustainably! To delve deeper, I moved to the University of Oxford to pursue MSc in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, where I am currently working on theory and software development. During my PhD at the University of Cambridge, I will work under the supervision of Prof David Wales and use energy landscape exploration methods to analyze stapled peptides, which possess the potential to be used as novel therapeutics for aberrant protein-protein interactions and in the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular and infectious diseases, etc. Concurrently, I aim to promote science communication between scientists and non-scientists by providing a common platform. I feel blessed to be a part of the passionate Gates Cambridge community as it will empower me to realize my goal of positively impacting global healthcare!”

Shaffin Siddiqui, United States, MPhil History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine (deferred from 2022)

“Having been raised a Muslim, I have always carried in my heart a fascination with the vastness of the Islamic scholarly tradition and the richness of the lived experience of modern Muslims. After graduating from Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas, I pursued an A.B. in History at Princeton University, where my interests in the history of Islam and the practice of medicine converged in research inquiring into the history of medicine in the Muslim world. This culminated in my graduating thesis which looked at paradigms of health in the late Nation of Islam. Through my MPhil in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine at Cambridge, I hope to focus on how a key socio-intellectual class in diasporic Muslim communities, the ulama (traditionally educated Islamic scholars), have engaged modern biomedicine and promoted varied paradigms and practices of health within Western Muslim populations. These important yet neglected histories will contribute to the project of building critical intellectual bridges between physicians/public-health experts and Muslim leaders like the ulama, with the goal of said enterprise laying not in producing a unilateral relationship between either of these domains but a symbiotic one. **Shaffin will commence his MPhil study in 2023.”

Hannah Ahamedi, Canada, MPhil African Studies

“My experience growing up in Yemeni, Kenyan, and Canadian communities has intrinsically shaped my interests in human rights, disarmament, and diaspora studies. From 2020-2022, I was a research assistant with the Stanford Graduate School of Education supporting the creation of the World Education Reform Database. In addition, during my time at the Reach Alliance, I conducted research examining the importance of employing local grassroots solutions to misinformation in conflict settings. Building on the combination of my degree from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto and my professional experiences with organizations such as Grand Challenges Canada and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, I intend to solidify my academic interest in African women’s peacebuilding. In the MPhil in African Studies course, I will utilize comparative policy analyses to examine how disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) initiatives in Africa have integrated female ex-combatants into their framework. I strongly believe that there is a social imperative to DDR work, and a failure to address inadequacies in those structures means a stronger chance of conflict reoccurring.”

For more: https://www.cam.ac.uk/stories/gates-cambridge-class-of-2023

For all scholars: https://www.gatescambridge.org/our-scholars/directory/