Carnegie Mellon University
February 11, 2015

Mathematical Sciences Student Tomer Reiter Wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Senior Will Study Number Theory at the University of Cambridge

By Jocelyn Duffy

Mathematical Sciences Student Tomer Reiter Wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship

photo of Tomer Reiter

Tomer Reiter, a senior mathematical sciences major at Carnegie Mellon University, has been selected as a 2015 recipient of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

The scholarships, established in 2000 by a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge, provide full support to students from outside the United Kingdom as they pursue a post-graduate degree at the university. The 40 U.S. winners of this year’s scholarships were announced today.

Reiter is only the second Carnegie Mellon student to receive the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which is considered to be among the most prestigious and highly competitive full-cost scholarships. The program was created to help build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others. Candidates are selected from universities worldwide.

“Winning the Gates Cambridge is an incredible honor,” Reiter said. “It means that I will join a network of scholars and alumni who are all committed to making the world a better place.”

While at Cambridge, Reiter will complete a one-year master’s degree course in mathematics that is referred to as Part III of the Mathematical Tripos, which culminates in the oldest and most famous mathematics examination in the world. After completing the program, he hopes to return to the United States and pursue his doctoral degree in mathematics and eventually become a professor.

“Simply put, Tomer is a wonderful human being. Everything he does, he does with a sense of humility,” said John Mackey, associate head and director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and one of Reiter’s teachers and research advisers. “He has brilliant insights into mathematics and has skills that extend far beyond the field. Everything he does enhances the Mathematical Sciences Department and the university. I have no doubt he will do the same for Cambridge.”

Reiter, who was born in Israel and raised in Boston, became deeply engaged in math while attending the Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS), a six-week summer program at Boston University that encourages students to explore the creative world of mathematics. During the program, Reiter developed an interest in number theory and in teaching and mentoring.

When it came time to choose a college, he picked Carnegie Mellon “for the math.”

“Carnegie Mellon seemed like a great place to be if you wanted to do mathematics. After I got here, I found that it was definitely the case,” Reiter said. “Math is beautiful. One of the most satisfying things is when you have a strong intuition about why a statement should be true, and you finally find a proof. Carnegie Mellon has taught me how to tackle those difficult problems.”

In addition to his coursework, Reiter helps to mentor other students. He has been a course assistant for the Fundamentals of Programming course and is a teaching assistant for Graph Theory. In the summers, he served as a counselor at PROMYS.

Staff members at Carnegie Mellon’s Fellowship and Scholarships Office (FSO) worked with Reiter as he completed the rigorous application process for the scholarship.

“Tomer is an exceptional student, and we are proud of his accomplishments,” said Stephanie Wallach, FSO director and assistant vice provost for Undergraduate Education. “His ability in mathematics is matched by his desire to teach and encourage young students in the field.”

In addition to his studies in mathematics, Reiter is minoring in computer science, studying Japanese, is a member of the Math Club, and is a former president and former philanthropy chair of the Carnegie Mellon Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.

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Tomer Reiter (pictured above) is only the second CMU student to receive the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. “He has brilliant insights into mathematics and has skills that extend far beyond the field. Everything he does enhances the Mathematical Sciences Department and the university. I have no doubt he will do the same for Cambridge," said associate department head John Mackey.