UCI Anthropology and Human Biology Alumna Named 2022 Gates-Cambridge Scholar

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 9, 2022 – Catthi Ly, a 2021 University of California, Irvine (UCI) graduate who double-majored in Human Biology and Anthropology and received a minor in History and Philosophy of Science, has been named a 2022 Gates Cambridge Scholar. She is the first U.S. recipient from UCI in four years.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship supports postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support students with demonstrated leadership ability, strong preparation for the selected Cambridge graduate program, and a deep and ambitious commitment to creating positive change. The Gates Cambridge program is one of the most prestigious and competitive scholarships in the world, with only 25 winners selected from the United States each year.

At Cambridge, Ly plans to earn a master of philosophy degree in Health, Medicine, and Society within the Department of History and Philosophy of Science during the 2022-23 academic year. She will pursue her studies under renowned philosophy of health experts like Dr. Stephen John and highly regarded anthropologists  Dr. Stephen John and highly regarded anthropologists Dr. Ignacia Arteaga and Dr. Maryon McDonald.

Looking forward to her time as a Gates-Cambridge Scholar, Ly says,

“I’m interested in studying uncertainty in cancer medicine. I want to look into the philosophical implications of novel drug treatments that don’t reliably treat patients, and I want to look into questions of whether those medications should be considered a medical right. I’m also very interested to study the anthropological and philosophical implications of the treatment of pain and questions of how we improve empathy among caregivers.”

Having never been to the U.K., Ly is excited to join one of the oldest universities in the world, a place she associates with figures like Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton. She is also excited for the opportunity to approach her studies from a new perspective:

“As an American whose focus is health equity, working in a system with universal health care will also be very influential for me. I am excited to see what can be implemented here and how their system handles diversity, diverse populations, and issues of inequity with immigrant groups from a cultural perspective.”

Being named a Gates-Cambridge Scholar is just the latest achievement in Ly’s decorated academic career. During her time at UCI, Ly was a University of California Regents’ Scholar, Campuswide Honors Collegium Ambassador, and junior inductee of Phi Beta Kappa. Ly has won the Campuswide Honors McWilliams Renaissance Award (given to two graduating Campuswide Honors students demonstrating expertise and excellence in a variety of academic fields), the Academic Excellence in Anthropology award (given to the top ten graduating seniors in the department), and the Distinguished Anteater Award (given to eighteen UCI students who demonstrate academic excellence and service). She was also named a Semi-Finalist for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program in 2021 to conduct breast cancer research at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Scholarship Opportunities Program Director Dr. Rose Jones applauds Catthi’s achievement:

“Catthi’s success demonstrates the value of working with the SOP office. Over the past several years, she has worked closely with her primary advisor, Brendan Park, in polishing her writing and communication skills, gaining clarity on her educational and career ambitions, and continuing to build upon her research experiences and mentoring relationships. All of us at SOP celebrate with Catthi on this amazing and prestigious opportunity and look forward to following her brilliant future.”

Catthi Ly can be reached for additional comments at catthil@uci.edu.

About the UCI Scholarship Opportunities Program: During the Gates-Cambridge Scholar application process, Ly received support from UCI’s Scholarship Opportunities Program (SOP). Since 1990, the SOP has assisted UCI undergraduates as they compete for prestigious scholarships and awards. Learn more about the SOP at www.scholars.uci.edu.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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