Two win Gates Cambridge Scholarships

March 27, 2008 12:30 p.m.

A Princeton senior and an alumnus of the University have been awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarships, which give outstanding students from outside the United Kingdom an opportunity to pursue postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge.

Kenneth Fockele and Mateusz Plucinski are among 45 U.S. winners of the Gates Cambridge Scholarships. About 100 students from around the world receive the awards annually.

Fockele, who lives in Gainesville, Ga., graduated from Princeton in 2006 with a degree in Germanic languages and literatures. At Cambridge, he plans to study European literature and culture.

Fockele was awarded the Victor Lange Prize for the best senior thesis in the German department in 2006 and the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence in 2003 and 2004. He served as a volunteer and a project coordinator for the University Brothers and Sisters program, which pairs Princeton students with elementary school children for mentoring. For three years, he taught a course in creative writing for middle school students sponsored by the Arts Council of Princeton.

Plucinski, who was born in Warsaw, Poland, and now lives in Glen Dale, W.Va., is majoring in operations research and financial engineering. At Cambridge, he plans to study computational biology.

Plucinski has co-written several papers published in scientific journals. He was awarded the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence in 2005 and 2006 and the Lee Elman Prize, given to the top undergraduate student in Portuguese courses, in 2007. Last year, he served as vice president of the Princeton Bioengineering Society and the Princeton Operations Research Society.

Including this year's winners, 21 Princeton students have been named Gates Cambridge Scholars since the awards were established in 2001 through a $210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Scholars are selected on the basis of intellectual ability, leadership potential and desire to improve the lives of others.