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For immediate release: March 11, 2003
Contact: Eric Quiñones, (609) 258-5748, quinones@princeton.edu

Four seniors, one alumnus receive Gates Cambridge Scholarships

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Four Princeton seniors and one recent graduate have been awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarships to study at the University of Cambridge in England next year.

They are: Nathan Arrington of Westport, Conn.; Louis Ballezzi of Havertown, Pa.; Nicole Basta of New Kensington, Pa.; Ryan Brandau of North Canton, Ohio; and Adam Nebesar of Canaan, N.Y.

Established in 2001, the Gates scholarships are funded through a $210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They provide up to four years of support for students, who must have a bachelor's degree, to pursue further education at the university. The awards are intended for scholars of outstanding academic merit and leadership potential from countries other than the United Kingdom. From 80 to 110 scholarships are awarded each year.

Arrington plans to use the Gates scholarship to pursue two one-year M.Phil. degrees at Cambridge: one in classical archaeology and one in archaeological science. His first master's thesis will be on glyptology -- engraved gems -- and the ancient economy. Arrington is particularly interested in trade patterns, the use of gems in economic systems and the relationship of gems to coins.

After Cambridge, Arrington intends to earn a doctorate in the United States and teach at the university level while pursuing archaeological excavation.

Arrington graduated summa cum laude from Princeton in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in art and archaeology. His senior thesis, "Death and Democracy: The Evolution in the Iconography of the Defeated Greek, ca. 600-390 BC," won the Stella and Rensselaer W. Lee Prize, a departmental thesis prize. He also received a Wilson College summer award to excavate in Moscow and grants to study at the City University of New York Summer Latin Institute.

Currently working at Princeton's art museum, Arrington is preparing exhibition catalogs, researching potential acquisitions and developing bibliographies of collections.

While an undergraduate student, Arrington wrote columns for The Daily Princetonian and played the viola in the orchestra for four years.

Ballezzi plans to earn a master's degree in the BioScience Enterprise Program at Cambridge. Started in 2002, the program focuses on biology, law and business as related to the field of biotechnology. After Cambridge, Ballezzi intends to go to law school and possibly work in science law, policy or biotechnology.

A molecular biology major, Ballezzi is completing a senior thesis on bioinformatics. Working in Professor Ihor Lemischka's lab, he is examining gene expression profiles of hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells in the hopes of defining a molecular signature for these cells. Ballezzi has won the President's Award for Academic Achievement and the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence at Princeton.

In the summer of 2001, Ballezzi participated in a Princeton study abroad language and literature program in Italy.

Basta will graduate from Princeton in June with a bachelor's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. She intends to study for an M.Phil. in epidemiology at Cambridge, after which she hopes to continue toward a Ph.D. in pathology or zoology. Ultimately, she plans to pursue a career as a field epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization, traveling to outbreak areas and implementing public health initiatives.

At Cambridge, Basta will focus on the interface between ecological factors and their relationship to outbreaks of diseases, such as malaria and dengue. The program is a leader in examining disease dynamics such as the outbreak of mad cow disease and schistosomiasis, a tropical parasitic disease.

Basta's research interests were affirmed in spring 2002 when she studied in Panama with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Princeton Field Study Program. She returned to Panama last summer to work on her senior thesis on the seasonality of malaria in the clay-colored robin. She hopes the project will contribute to an understanding of the ecological and hormonal factors that make individuals susceptible to parasitic infections. For her research, Basta received thesis grants from the Dean of the College Round Table Fund, the Program in Latin American Studies and the Evnin '62 Senior Thesis Fund in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

During her final year at Princeton, Basta has taught English as a second language at the International Center and the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. She also is the senior class chair of the ecology and evolutionary biology department and an executive board member of the Princeton Association of Women in Science.

Brandau will graduate from Princeton with a bachelor's degree in music and with certificates in music performance (conducting) and in gender studies. He intends to pursue an M.Phil. in musicology at Cambridge, focusing on the vocal music of Restoration England in light of the religious, political and social concerns of the period.

Aspiring to be a musicologist, Brandau plans to continue study toward a doctorate, while complementing his research with work as a professional choral conductor. He anticipates becoming very involved with choral music while in England.

Awarded the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence, Brandau currently is writing a senior thesis that explores the classical figure of Dido as rendered by Tate and Purcell in their opera "Dido and Aeneas."

At Princeton, Brandau's extracurricular activities revolve around music. He sang in the Glee Club, Chamber Choir and the Katzenjammers for four years. Currently he is the conductor of the University Sinfonia and an assistant conductor for the Glee Club. He directed the Katzenjammers for two years and conducted the pit orchestra for two Princeton University Players musicals. This spring he is music directing and conducting a thesis in the Program in Theater and Dance.

Brandau is a team leader in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Peer Education Program, and he has worked for more than two years in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and briefly as a music theory tutor.

Nebesar will use the Gates scholarship to pursue an M.Phil. in economics at Cambridge, possibly staying on for a Ph.D. Currently he is completing work toward a bachelor's degree in economics and certificates in finance and political economy and applied and computational mathematics.

Nebesar's senior thesis attempts to model the effects of oil shocks on the U.S. economy and to find ways to gauge the potential impact of a war with Iraq. Nebesar has twice won the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence.

While at Princeton, Nebesar has been involved with Business Today, the student nonprofit that publishes the magazine of that name and runs conferences. He recently was publisher of the magazine. A member of the sprint football team, Nebesar hopes to take up boxing at Cambridge.