COSAM alumnus awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Paul BergenPaul Bergen, a 2012 graduate of COSAM, was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, a full-cost award for full-time graduate study and research at the University of Cambridge.

Bergen will pursue a doctorate in pathology at Cambridge with a focus on how Salmonella infects the host intestinal cell and overcomes the host immune response to cause disease.

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected as a Gates Cambridge Scholar,” said Bergen. “I hope my research will eventually improve the lives of those afflicted by this common bacterial pathogen."

“I am grateful for the outstanding preparation I received at Auburn. Without the work from all the members of my practice interview committee and the tireless efforts of my faculty letter writers - Anthony Moss, Mark Liles, and Paul Harris - I would not have been given this great opportunity.”

Bergen graduated from Auburn with a 3.97 GPA and earned degrees in microbiology and German. He is currently a Fulbright Scholar at the Technical University in Munich, Germany, where he is continuing research that he began in the Department of Biological Sciences.

“Paul was a stellar student in both the College of Sciences and Mathematics and the College of Liberal Arts,” said Charles Savrda, former interim dean of COSAM. “It is no surprise that he has garnered this additional honor. All of us at Auburn are extremely proud of Paul and anticipate he will do great things at Cambridge and beyond.”

Auburn had two 2013 finalists among the nearly 1,000 applicants for the scholarship and was one of only four public universities with that distinction. Bergen is one of 40 scholars to receive the award.

“Despite his many scholarly and academic accomplishments, what makes Paul such a special person is his willingness to take intellectual risks and truly embrace an interdisciplinary approach to learning,” said Paul Harris, associate director for national prestigious scholarships at Auburn. “Paul has a range of interests and activities which go well beyond the study of life sciences and microbiology to a passionate interest in German language, culture, and history. He will thrive at Cambridge.”

The scholarship program is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates through the Gates Cambridge Trust. Gates Cambridge Scholarships are awarded to college students and recent graduates based on four criteria: intellectual ability; leadership capacity; a 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; and demonstrating a good fit between the applicants’ abilities and aspirations to the graduate program. (Written by Mike Clardy.)