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News Release

February 28, 2007

Contact:

Kathleen J. Sullivan, News Service: (650) 724-5708, kathleenjsullivan@stanford.edu


Three students, one alumna receive prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarships

Three Stanford students and one alumna are among the 48 Americans headed to the University of Cambridge in England this fall as Gates Scholars.

The Gates Cambridge Scholars program, which provides funding for one to four years of graduate study, was established in 2000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Scholars—up to 150 will be chosen worldwide this year—are selected based on their intellectual abilities, leadership capacities and their demonstrated desire to apply their skills to improve the lives of others in their communities.

The scholars from Stanford are Albert Chiou, a senior majoring in chemistry; Weston Tyler Hester, a graduate student in the Modern Thought and Literature Program; Shamsher Samra, who is completing a bachelor's degree in biological sciences; and Elizabeth Dzeng, who graduated in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and a master's degree in chemical engineering.

Chiou, who is from Marlboro, N.J., plans to pursue a master of philosophy in chemistry at Cambridge, where he will apply a chemical technique known as single-molecule spectroscopy to study telomerase, a protein that plays a role in aging and cancer. His work characterizing the dynamics of fundamental molecular reactions was recently published in the Journal of Chemical Physics. Chiou, who played the violin for three years with Mariachi Cardenal at Stanford, teaches English as a second language on weekends and serves on the steering committee of a San Jose free clinic serving uninsured Vietnamese and Latino migrants.

Hester, who is from San Anselmo, Calif., plans to pursue a master of philosophy in educational research at Cambridge, where he hopes to focus on the political dimensions of educational policy affecting student populations with limited English skills. Hester, an avid cyclist who served as co-captain of Stanford Cycling, tutored janitors in English for two years under the university's Habla el Día program. He also founded "English Honors in the Community," a program that brings honors college students to speak with students at East Palo Alto schools.

Samra, who is from Fresno, Calif., will pursue a master of philosophy in epidemiology at Cambridge. He hopes to use his skills to address issues related to diabetes and heart disease in India. Samra is currently studying the efficacy of a low-cost treatment for preventing deterioration of visual acuity in poor patients with diabetic retinopathy in Bihar, one of the poorest states in India. On campus, he is co-instructing a course on issues surrounding heart disease and diabetes. His work as president of the South Asian Preventive Health Outreach Program, a volunteer organization founded by the Stanford School of Medicine in 1997, helped to spur a better understanding of heart disease and diabetes.

Dzeng, who is from Timonium, Md., will pursue a master of philosophy in social anthropological analysis at Cambridge with the aim of enhancing her ability to provide public health and clinical services internationally using a culturally sensitive framework. She is a fourth-year medical student at Johns Hopkins University but is taking a year off to study for a master's degree in public health there. Recently, she has been working with the Hopkins Center for Disasters and Refugee Response on projects estimating mortality in Iraq and developing a Women and Child Care Health Initiative for North Korean refugees in Northern China.

Since the initiation of the Gates Scholars program, 12 Stanford students and alumni have been awarded scholarships. Students interested in the Gates or other international awards should visit the Overseas Resource Center at the Bechtel International Center or go to http://www.stanford.edu/dept/icenter/orc/.

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Comment:

Katie Route, Overseas Resource Center: (650) 725-0881, keroute@stanford.edu

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