headshots of Julia Rathmann-Bloch and Arman Kassam

Recent Stanford alumni Julia Rathmann-Bloch, ’21, and Arman Kassam, ’22, are recipients of the 2024 Gates Cambridge Scholarship. (Image credit: Courtesy Office of Global Scholarships)

Recent Stanford alums Arman Kassam, ’22, and Julia Rathmann-Bloch, ’21, are among the recipients of the 2024 Gates Cambridge Scholarship. The award provides full-cost scholarships to outstanding scholars from countries outside the United Kingdom to pursue a postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

Kassam is from North Carolina and graduated from Stanford in 2022. He majored in history and minored in anthropology. As an undergraduate, he edited the Stanford History Department’s undergraduate journal, Herodotus. His senior thesis, “Man on the Moon: John Wilkins’s Lunar Fascination and Its Anthropocentric Futures, 1630-1650,” received the department’s 2020-21 James Birdsall Weter Prize for Outstanding History Honors Thesis.

At Cambridge, Kassam will pursue an MPhil in sociology and will study the relationship between housing instability and gig work. He hopes to understand how rising housing costs play a role in forcing people to seek additional jobs (especially gig work), how economic exploitation occurs between the housing market and the labor market, and how workers make sense of that exploitation. He wants to apply that knowledge to develop sensible policies and strategies that support both the labor union and tenant union movements.

Rathmann-Bloch is from the Bay Area and graduated in 2021 with a degree in human biology. As an undergraduate, she engaged in research in four Stanford neuroscience and psychology labs and completed an honors thesis, titled “How the Angular Gyrus Updates and Integrates New Knowledge,” which earned her a Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. After graduating, she was a research coordinator in the Stanford Memory Lab, where she studied how aging and early-stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology affect memory abilities. This research led her to wonder whether or how these processes change our conscious experiences.

At the University of Cambridge, she will pursue a PhD in psychology, where she plans to investigate the neural underpinnings of consciousness as a function of age and AD. She hopes her research will shed light on the neural correlates of consciousness and offer approaches for earlier detection of AD. After completing her PhD, she would like to continue exploring these fundamental questions as a researcher and academic.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship was established in 2000 through a donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the first class in 2001, Gates Cambridge has awarded more than 2,000 scholarships to scholars from more than 100 countries.

International scholarships

Stanford students interested in overseas scholarships and Stanford faculty interested in nominating students for such awards should contact Diane Murk, manager of the Office of Global Scholarships, at dmurk@stanford.edu, Bechtel International Center.