Fourth Year selected as Gates Cambridge Scholar

Ellen Purdy has always been passionate about art, inspired by childhood trips to the museum, but the fourth-year student wasn’t sure how to incorporate that lifelong interest into her chemistry coursework. It wasn’t until she studied abroad in Spain—and learned about the science behind art conservation—that her unique academic path began to take shape.

“I’ve always had an interest in art and art history because it was a particular passion of my grandfather's,” Purdy said. “He brought me along to museums and told me a lot about his favorite artists. It has really been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.”

A newly named recipient of the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship, Purdy will learn more about the intersections between science and art next year, when she pursues a master of philosophy in chemistry at the University of Cambridge. The highly competitive scholarship, established by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was awarded this year to 34 academically distinguished U.S. students who have proven themselves as leaders and are committed to improving the lives of others.

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