A Zimbabwean, Charity Bhebhe has won  one of the world’s most prestigious
scholarships, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.


The Arizona State University senior beat thousands of other applicants from around the world to win the scholarship. Charity, a molecular biology and biotechnology major in the School of Life Sciences will pursue a doctoral degree in pharmacology at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

“I am very excited, and I am proud of myself,” Bhebhe said. “I am also very thankful to everyone who helped me with the application — especially my advisers, professors and my mentor and (principal investigator) Dr. Heather Bean for all the guidance and support. I wouldn’t have done it without their help.”

While at Cambridge, scholars pursue the full range of subjects available and are spread through its departments and colleges. Up to 95 scholars are selected each year, including 40 from the U.S. and 55 from other countries. Of this year’s almost 5,800 applicants, 423 were shortlisted by their departments and, of these, 201 were interviewed in the U.S. and Cambridge by four panels of interviewers drawn from across Cambridge University.

The lack of basic resources to treat minor illnesses in Zimbabwe spurred Bhebhe to study the molecular mechanisms of diseases with the goal of successfully preventing them.

“It has always been my goal to be able to apply my medical research skills in investigating and preventing diseases to improve health care standards and give people from disadvantaged communities like my own a fair chance to fight against disease,” she said. “I intend to use my training in pharmacology to continue researching molecular and cellular systems involved in disease progression and, consequently, develop therapies for human disease.”

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme was established in October 2000 by a donation of $210 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge. Scholarships are awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the U.K. to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

Scholars are selected on the basis of their outstanding intellectual ability, leadership potential and commitment to improving the lives of others. ASU NOW



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