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ASU grad wins top scholarship to study at Cambridge

Nicole Person-Rennell
February 15, 2011

Nicole Person-Rennell, a 2009 ASU graduate who is now a medical student at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., has been awarded a 2011 Gates Cambridge Scholarship for graduate study at the University of Cambridge, England. Originally from Phoenix, she plans to study for a master’s degree in public health.

Person-Rennell is one of 30 new U.S. Gates Cambridge Scholars from 22 states and 25 colleges and universities who have been offered places at one of the world’s most renowned universities.

While a junior at ASU, Person-Rennell studied domestic violence and public health in South Africa for one year, on a National Security Education Program award. She has continued to work with women in domestic violence situations in Rochester and plans to become a public health physician focusing on women’s health issues.

Person-Rennell came to ASU as a Flinn Scholar and graduated in global studies with an emphasis in international health. At Mayo she works with clinicians in many research projects, including examining post-partum depression outcomes, and she is a student co-coordinator for a Salvation Army clinic.

She will take a leave from medical school for a year to complete her master’s.

“I hope to use both my public health degree and my medical degree to work for a group such as the World Health Organization to help shape positive changes in global public health,” she says.

The 30 new scholars were selected from an initial field of about 800 applicants and an interview shortlist of 80. They were chosen at interviews in New York City in early February by academics and others from Cambridge and several U.S. universities. The students will study for master’s or doctoral degrees at Cambridge.

The Gates Scholarship program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, chooses academically outstanding students from outside the United Kingdom who are focused on social leadership and responsibility. The intent is to create an international network of scholars—another 60 are chosen from other countries—who will have a transformative effect on society.

Last spring Ben Strauber, an ASU senior who graduated in May in biochemistry and linguistics, received a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.