Auburn graduate selected as finalist for Gates-Cambridge Scholarship

Published: Jan 11, 2018 10:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Chris Anthony,, 334.844.3447

Kaylee McCormack, a 2017 Auburn University graduate, has been selected as a finalist for the Gates-Cambridge Scholarship. McCormack is one of 90 students nationwide out of an applicant pool of nearly 1,000 who has been invited to interview for the 40 available scholarships to pursue post-graduate studies at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.

Kaylee McCormack
Kaylee McCormack

A native of Palm Bay, Florida, McCormack graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and University Honors Scholar designation from Auburn’s Honors College with a near-perfect 3.96 grade point-average. While at Auburn, she conducted undergraduate research under the direction of Michael Squillacote, associate professor emeritus in the department of chemistry.

McCormack is a Fulbright Scholar at the Technical University of Denmark working in the lab of professor Anker Jensen where she is improving a kinetic and mathematical model of the deactivation of industrial catalysts for methanol to formaldehyde oxidation.

"As astonishing as her academic and scholarly pursuits have been, her servant-leadership and commitment to improve the lives of others is equally impressive" said Paul Harris, associate director of the Honors College and professor of political science. "As a student, Kaylee led an after-school and weekend PSAT course prep held for high school freshmen and sophomores who lack the financial means to pay for tutoring. I have the utmost confidence in Kaylee doing great things in her life."

If awarded the Gates-Cambridge scholarship, she will pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering where she will work under the supervision of professor Alexei Lapkin using electro-catalysis for carbon chain growth as a method of sustainable energy storage.

The selection criteria for Gates-Cambridge Scholars include outstanding intellectual ability; leadership potential; a commitment to improving the lives of others; and a good fit between the applicant's qualifications and aspirations and the postgraduate program at Cambridge for which they are applying. McCormack will interview in Seattle, Washington, on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 28–29.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship was established in October 2000 by a donation of $210 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge. The Gates-Cambridge Scholarships are awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

Auburn University has had three Gates-Cambridge Scholars since the program’s inception: Cyndee Carver-DeKlotz in 2002, David Harris in 2011 and Paul Bergen in 2013.

- Written by Wade Berry of the Honors College