Two more Yale affiliates win Gates Cambridge Fellowships

Shadrack Frimong, who will graduate this May from the School of Public Health, and Yale College alumna Amelia Urry ’13 each have been awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for study at the University of Cambridge. Yale senior Anin Luo was earlier named one of the 28 U.S. citizens chosen for the award.

The three are among 77 individuals from 30 different countries who make up the Class of 2020 Gates Cambridge Scholars.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship, given to academically outstanding and socially committed individuals, fully funds postgraduate study and research in any subject at the University of Cambridge. It was established through a $210 million donation to the British university from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 with the goal of creating a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.

Eighty percent of the scholars will pursue Ph.D.s, studying subjects ranging from the impact of climate change on coastal birds to indigenous rights in New Zealand, the history of uncertainty in polar climate science, and the moral basis of identity-based harm.

The scholars-elect fully meet the aspiration of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s generous and historic gift to the University of Cambridge,” said Barry Everitt, provost (CEO) of the Gates Cambridge Trust. “This year's selection process has taken place against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, which more than ever shows the vital need to bring together from around the world the most brilliant minds from the most diverse backgrounds to work on global challenges.” 

Shadrack Frimpong

  Shadrack Frimpong
Shadrack Frimpong

Frimpong, who is from Ghana, will research how the use of community engagement and farm revenues can help to eliminate barriers to health care in poor regions.

Frimpong grew up without running water and electricity, and “experienced first-hand the health inequities that plague such underserved communities, especially in times of pandemics like COVID-19,” he said. These experiences led him to study biology at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Pennsylvania, and to pursue his M.P.H. at Yale. 

He founded the global health non-profit Cocoa360, which leverages community resources such as cocoa to improve social determinants of health, such as healthcare and educational access.  

Another childhood experience also deeply impacted Frimpong’s academic journey. At age nine, his legs were nearly amputated after he contracted an infection from swimming in a river and had to travel six hours to access health care. 

“My own health challenges, as well as those of my family members, have fueled my calling to serve others as a public health leader and scholar,” he said.

Amelia Urry

Amelia Urry
Amelia Urry

Urry studied English literature and poetry at Yale, and then spent five years reporting on climate science and the environment as a journalist in Seattle.

The history of climate change will shape its future,” she said. “An avid reader from a young age, I understood the power of stories to change our worldview, and the starring role that science plays in many of these stories.”

Her doctoral work will explore the history of climate science in Antarctica.

The past half-century of scientific attempts to map, measure, and model the seventh continent have led to the current, deep uncertainty in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections of sea-level rise,” Urry said. “The efforts to confront uncertainty in Antarctic oceans and ice sheets form an important chapter in the still-unfolding history of climate science, and I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to carry out this work as a member of the Gates community.

Urry, the daughter of Meg Urry, the Israel Munson Professor of Physics at Yale, is currently studying at the University of Cambridge, and was chosen for the fellowship in the international round.

The Gates-Cambridge Scholarship is an incredible opportunity for students of any nationality to receive support for one to three years of study at Cambridge,” said Rebekah Westphal, director of the Office of Fellowship Programs and assistant dean of Yale College. “We offer advising on the fellowship in the Office of Fellowships and Funding and can provide practice interviews for anyone offered a finalist interview.” 

Deadlines are in early October for the U.S. round and in December and January for the international round.

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Media Contact

Bess Connolly: elizabeth.connolly@yale.edu, 203-432-1324