Spain Park alum receives scholarship to study at Cambridge

Published 12:53 pm Monday, February 14, 2011

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

David Harris, a Spain Park alum and current senior at Auburn University, has been awarded the prestigious Gates Cambridge scholarship.

The scholarship covers the cost of full-time graduate study and research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Harris is a senior in chemical engineering with a 3.97 grade point average. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in advanced chemical engineering at Cambridge.

Harris (Contributed photo)

“The chance to study at Cambridge is really a dream come true,” Harris said in a press release. “Studying abroad at one of the oldest and most famous universities in the world will be an incredibly rewarding experience. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview for the scholarship last week in New York, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear the good news so quickly.”

Spain Park college and career specialist Christy Hudgens said Harris has been setting and meeting lofty goals since high school.

“We always knew that David was destined for great things, but he has exceeded our expectations.  I know that it has always been a goal for him to study abroad and I think being named a Gates Cambridge Scholar is the ultimate opportunity for him to accomplish that,” Hudgens said. “We are so proud of him and the fact that Spain Park was a small piece of David’s puzzle to get to this point is an honor.  It speaks volumes to the greatness of the Alabama public school system at both the secondary and post-secondary levels.”

Gates Cambridge scholarships are awarded to college students based on four criteria: intellectual ability; leadership capacity; a desire to use their knowledge to contribute to society throughout the world by providing service to their communities and applying their talents and knowledge to improve the lives of others; and demonstrating a good fit between the applicant’s abilities and aspirations to the graduate program.

The scholarship program is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates through the Gates Cambridge Trust. Between 80 and 100 students throughout the world receive the scholarships each year since the program began in 2000.