Wellesley’s Adrien Smith Named 2006 Gates Cambridge Scholar

For immediate release:
February 24, 2006
Arlie Corday

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- In October 2006 the sixth annual contingent of new Gates Scholars, selected from countries around the world, will begin graduate studies at the University of Cambridge, England. This month 40 successful candidates from the U.S. earned the opportunity to be among them, as recipients of Gates Cambridge Scholarships. They include Wellesley College 2005 graduate Adrien Smith, from Montague, Mass., who plans to pursue a master’s degree in European Literature and Culture at Cambridge. Adrien is the third Wellesley student to be awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, following Hilary Soderland in 2001, Jennifer Piscopo in 2002 and Deborah Hayden in 2005.

At Cambridge, Adrien will join fellow Gates Scholars – highly talented young men and women from all over the world – studying subjects across the whole range of knowledge: arts, science, humanities, social science, technology and medicine. Born in Northfield, Mass., Smith grew up on an apple farm and attended a small private school where her mother taught first grade.

“I discovered Russian as a junior at Wellesley College, and I extended my tenure to study in Yaroslavl, Russia for a year,” Smith said. “My Russian studies have allowed me to pursue biological research at (Russia’s) Lake Baikal and, most recently, to work and research in national parks in the Kola Peninsula. This infatuation with Russian wilderness arose after many summers spent canoeing the lakes and rivers of Maine, where I attended and later taught at camp Arcadia in Casco. My academic interests have taken me beyond the borders of Russia proper, as they include the early prose of Vladimir Nabokov and the poetry of Khodasevich. “

Since the start of the Scholarship Program in 2001, nearly 300 scholars have completed their studies at Cambridge and have now gone on to other fields of endeavor around the world. They are already starting to contribute solutions to many of the difficult issues which beset us, fulfilling the intention of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation when the Scholarships were established. As Bill Gates has written, “We need highly educated leaders, skilled in research and analysis, who will undertake a creative approach to defining and solving problems so that we can address the injustices and inequities around our world. Gates Cambridge Scholarships give young people an opportunity to develop and refine such skills. In Cambridge, Gates Scholars are able to work with distinguished faculty and other equally bright students from many different countries and cultures. On graduation from Cambridge, Gates Scholars are in an ideal position to bring new vision and apply their learning to the benefit of society at large.”

In the first five years of the program, 527 students from 72 countries have taken up their scholarships at Cambridge. The Gates Scholars currently at Cambridge in 2005-2006 come from 47 different countries – as varied as Algeria and Argentina, Ecuador and Estonia, Spain and Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey. (Only students from the United Kingdom are ineligible). For more information about the Gates Cambridge Scholarship program, please go to the Web site www.gates.scholarships.cam.ac.uk, which includes the 2005 Yearbook profiling all the Gates Scholars currently studying at Cambridge.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to www.wellesley.edu.