Recent Mount Holyoke College Alumna Wins Gates Scholarship

Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 12:00pm

For immediate release
March 24, 2005

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass - A Mount Holyoke alumna from the class of 2003, Maile Martinez, has received a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, an award given to enable outstanding graduate students from outside the United Kingdom to study at the University of Cambridge.

The scholarship, founded in 2000 with a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of Seattle, Wash., is annually awarded to approximately 100 graduate students from around the world.

To be eligible for a Gates Scholarship, a candidate must first be admitted to Cambridge through the usual process. "The Trustees are required to award scholarships on the basis of a person's intellectual ability, leadership capacity and desire to use their knowledge to contribute to society throughout the world by providing service to their communities and applying their talents and knowledge to improve the lives of others," the foundation explains on its Web site at

Martinez, who had majored in Romance languages and literatures and minored in English at MHC, discovered the Gates Cambridge Scholarship while looking for graduate work after her two-year commitment to Teach for America in Phoenix, Ariz. At Cambridge she found a one-year master's program for European literature and culture that sounded like it was "right up my alley," she said.

Martinez sought the assistance of Katya King, the assistant director of fellowships and scholarships at Mount Holyoke's Career Development Center, who provided "a lot of hard-to-get information about the application process and what to expect," Martinez said. The professors and MHC staff were both "very supportive and very encouraging."

One of the 100 candidates interviewed for the 35 available scholarships, Martinez "was very nervous - everyone I met was highly qualified and extremely motivated."

Martinez was informed this month that she would be Mount Holyoke's first Gates Scholar, and will be a member of St. John's College this fall.