Charbonneau ’16 Earns Prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Rebecca Charbonneau ’16 has earned a 2018 Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a PhD at the University of Cambridge.

Photo by Scott Cook Photo by Scott Cook

Rebecca Charbonneau ’16 is one of just 35 U.S. students to earn a 2018 Gates Cambridge Scholarship, one of the most prestigious postgraduate scholarships in the world.

Gates 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.

Charbonneau will pursue a PhD in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Cambridge beginning in October.

“Cambridge is my dream program,” Charbonneau says. “It offers a lot of opportunity for someone in my field. I specialize in the history of radio astronomy, and radio astronomy really evolved at Cambridge. For example, currently, the Cavendish Laboratory group is one of the key project leaders for the Square Kilometre Array, so this makes Cambridge a fantastic atmosphere to be doing my research in.”

A double major in art history and critical media and cultural studies at Rollins, Charbonneau earned her master’s in the history of science, medicine, and technology from the University of Oxford in 2017. Her master’s thesis focused on collaboration between U.S. and Soviet astrophysicists during the Cold War.

Charbonneau completed a graduate internship at NASA’s History Office in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, and she is presently a graduate archives intern at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Fewer than 100 Gates Cambridge Scholarships are awarded each year to students throughout the world. Scholars are selected based on criteria that include outstanding intellectual ability, leadership potential, and a commitment to improving the lives of others.

“We are proud of Rebecca for this tremendous achievement and excited that she will pursue her PhD at one of the world’s most prestigious universities,” says Rollins College President Grant Cornwell. “Her accomplishments are a testament not only to the academic excellence and rigor at Rollins but also to our mission to educate students for global citizenship and responsible leadership.”

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship program was established in 2000 with a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge.