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Press Release

Jonathan Potts

For immediate release:
February 19, 2003

Carnegie Mellon Student Wins Prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University student Scott B. Kaufman, a senior in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, has been selected as a Gates Cambridge Scholar and will have the opportunity to study at Cambridge University on a full scholarship.

Kaufman, who is pursuing a double major in cognitive psychology and human-computer interaction and a minor in vocal performance, was one of only 41 Gates Cambridge Scholars selected in the United States and is the first from Carnegie Mellon. One hundred people were accepted worldwide; about 20,000 applied.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation started the scholarship to bring elite scholars from all over the world to Cambridge in order to create a global network of future leaders. The scholarship is renewable for up to three years, so Kaufman could earn his doctor's degree at Cambridge if he desires.

Kaufman also has been accepted into Yale University's doctoral program in psychology to study under renowned psychologist Robert J. Sternberg, the president of the American Psychological Association. Kaufman tentatively plans to spend a year at Cambridge and then hopes to go to Yale.

Kaufman is from Wynnewood, Pa., and graduated in 1998 from Lower Merion High School.

"Scott has been just a fantastic student. He set a goal very early about doing research in intelligence and he just has kept his eye on the prize and has been highly motivated and has a lot of self-initiative," said Anne Fay, Kaufman's mentor, who is an adjunct professor of psychology and an educational assessment specialist for the Eberly Teaching Center and the Office of Technology for Education at Carnegie Mellon.

Kaufman hopes to improve the way educators and researchers measure human intelligence. He believes that the current standardized test to measure IQ does not reflect the range of human abilities. His senior honors thesis examines the relationship between musical ability and IQ. His initial advisor on the project was the late Nobel Prize-winner Herbert A. Simon, a pioneer in artificial intelligence who spent 52 years at Carnegie Mellon. Simon died in 2001 at the age of 84.

"I've had the opportunity to work with the best," Kaufman said.


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