Fourth-year Tim Rudnicki is one of 40 U.S. student recipients of the Gates Cambridge scholarship, a prestigious program that provides recipients a full ride to the University of Cambridge. These 40 students will join 55 scholars from different countries of the world announced later this year.
He will attend the University of Cambridge this October to pursue an M.Phil. in economic and social history after he graduates from the College this June with a B.A. in history and economics.
Rudnicki received the news last Tuesday after initial doubts that he had not won.
“I had heard from previous winners that they were notified on Sunday, so when I didn’t hear anything then I thought that I hadn’t won, “ he said in an e-mail. “I was sitting in my kitchen on Tuesday morning when I got the e-mail from the Gates Cambridge Trust—I was in total shock. I tried to immediately call my parents but I had to hang up and re-read the email about five times before I actually believed what it was saying.”
Since its founding, 18 UChicago students have received the Gates Cambridge scholarship.
The scholarship was established through a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2001. The final 40 recipients of the award were chosen from a pool of over 800 applicants, according to the Gates Cambridge website.
Rudnicki expressed gratitude for the support he received from his college advisers, friends, family, and references throughout the process.
“The application process was long and grueling—it started way back in May of last year, and really hasn’t stopped since...it was a lot of writing (and re-writing, and re-writing some more) personal statements and preparing for interviews, but well worth it in the end,” he said.
While Rudnicki had already been accepted to University of Cambridge last November, the scholarship will allow him to attend for free. He is planning to focus on 17th- and 18th-century English economic history.
“It’s an interesting topic because it seems that most of the growth of the manufacturing sector in England was completed by 1700 rather than 1800, as most textbooks will tell you; but, we don’t know exactly when it occurred....It has important implications for our understanding of the industrial revolution and early modern economic growth,” he said.
During his time on campus, Rudnicki was a resident of Tufts House in Pierce. He has also been involved with the Prospective Student Advisory Committee (PSAC) and various health groups including Health Leads and Connect, as well as working as a research assistant for economics professor Glen Weyl and history professor Mark Loeffler.
“While I am very lucky to be going to be Cambridge next year, the award and credit really should go to the communities that I have been a part of and the people that I have interacted with here,” Rudnicki said. “[They] have all played an indescribable role in shaping my experience, and I couldn’t have gotten here without them.”