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Senior wins one of 42 Gates Cambridge Scholarships

Melissa Mitchell, News Editor
(217) 333-5491;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is among the recipients of this year’s prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

Christopher Michael, of Manchester, Mo., is one of 42 U.S. students chosen from 500 applicants to receive the merit-based scholarship funded by an endowment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of Seattle. The awards, valued at approximately $32,000 each, cover the full cost of studies at Cambridge University in England, as well as some travel and living expenses, for a period of one to four years.

Administered by the Gates Cambridge Trust since 2001, the scholarship program is open to students outside the United Kingdom. Awards are given to students who demonstrate outstanding academic merit and leadership, and are committed to serving their communities. By October 2003, about 250 Gates Cambridge Scholars from more than 50 countries are expected to be at Cambridge pursuing advanced degrees.

Michael, who is completing a five-year undergraduate-degree program at Illinois in physics, materials science and engineering – in just four years – plans to enter Cambridge in October to pursue a one-year master’s degree program in microelectronics engineering and semiconductor physics. He hopes to study microelectronic circuit fabrication and design for use in interfacing with neural networks, with a goal of improving the effectiveness of neural implants.

In addition to earning a perfect grade-point average while participating in the Campus Honors Program, Michael has been active on research teams on and off campus since his freshman year. He also has worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant in physics.

Michael’s extracurricular interests include competitive running and community service, most notably through his affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America as an Eagle Scout.