Two Yale students are named Gates Cambridge Scholars

Two Yale students are named Gates Cambridge Scholars

Yale seniors Julian Menzel and Simone Seiver are among the 36 U.S. citizens who have been selected to be part of the 2017 class of Gates Cambridge Scholars at the University of Cambridge.

These 36 individuals from 34 universities will join 54 scholars from other parts of the world who will be announced in early April. The prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship program was established in 2000 by a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge, the largest ever single donation to a university in the United Kingdom. Scholars are chosen for their outstanding intellectual ability, leadership potential, and commitment to improving the lives of others, among other qualities.

Menzel grew up in Lilburn, Georgia, where he became interested in physics and math at an early age. He entered Yale as an aspiring theoretical physicist, but soon became interested in the history and philosophy of science and medicine. His interest in the relationship between physicists’ social culture and the laws they discover led him to pursue his current historical project, which examines styles of collaboration in the United States physics during the interwar period.

“At Cambridge, I hope to continue this research, focusing in particular on the intimate relationship between American and European physics in the mid-20thcentury,” he wrote in his biography for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. My academic interests are connected to my concern for educational equity. I serve as a trustee for the Telluride Association, which offers free educational programs to high school and college students, and help run a student group that pushes for pedagogical reform in Yale’s math department. I believe that understanding the history of physics — especially physics education — can help us make the discipline more inclusive of historically marginalized groups.”

Seiver is studying for joint bachelor and master’s degrees in political science. She has focused on the design and analysis of randomized experiments, particularly in application to the American legal system.

“I believe that empirical research should drive policy solutions for criminal justice challenges,” she says in her Gates Cambridge Scholarship biography. “While living and studying in New Haven, I co-founded Connecticut’s first-ever charitable bail fund. We promote racial and economic justice in the pretrial system by providing direct bail assistance to indigent defendants who would otherwise be held in jail. This intervention prevents the presumptively innocent from losing their homes, jobs, and families while incarcerated pretrial. At Cambridge, I will use experimental methodologies to test the intuition that pretrial detention negatively impacts defendants. While I am interested in social scientific evidence, I also believe in the power of storytelling to enlighten. I have worked as a journalist, writing and reporting on legal issues for news outlets. Criminal justice systems benefit from increased transparency through a union of empirical and testimonial knowledge.”

The 2017 Gates Cambridge Scholars also includes its first Native American awardee, a member of the Gros Ventre tribe of the Belknap Indian Reservation, and the founder of the Alabama REACH program for college students who are homeless, in foster care, or wards of the state. This class of scholars also boasts its first millennial, who will be just 17 when she starts her M.Phil. at Cambridge. See the full list of scholars here.