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Adriana Cherskov ’14 has been awarded a 2014 Gates Cambridge Scholarship, making her the sixth Princeton student or alumnus to receive the award this year. Cherskov will have the opportunity to pursue a postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge starting this October.

Cherskov, a molecular biology concentrator, joins David Abugaber ’14, Isabel Kasdin ’14, and Simone Sasse ’14 as current University students who have received the scholarship this year. Recent graduates Madeline McMahon ’13 and Elizabeth Presser ’10 were also awarded the scholarship.

The Gates Scholarship, established in 2000 by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, allows students from outside the United Kingdom to pursue a postgraduate degree in any of the academic departments within the University of Cambridge. A total of 95 students from around the world will be awarded the scholarship,

The selection process is divided into four stages. The first stage is the departmental ranking of the applicants, in which applicants are ranked based on academic merit. In the second stage, the Gates Cambridge committees review the applications and decide which applicants can move on to an interview.

Cherskov said she was completely overwhelmed when she received the email offering her the scholarship.

“I couldn't believe it at first, it was such a wonderful surprise,” she said.

Cherskov said she plans to pursue a Master of Philosophy in medical science with a focus on psychiatry at Cambridge, adding that she will be working with the Autism Research Centre under Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen. She is currently doing thesis research about autism in mice, and she explained that autism is one of the things she's really interested in and is something she would like to pursue in the future.

"I'm thinking of going into medicine and getting an M.D./Ph.D., so that's what I'd like to focus on as well," she said.

Cherskov studied at the University of Oxford during the fall of her junior year and has done research at the Seattle Children's Hospital on autism and cerebellar development. She also spent a summer at the Pasteur Institute in France doing research in the field of neuroscience.

On campus, Cherskov is the copresident of the group Music in Mind, a group dedicated to recognizing the influence of music on science, art and health. She was also the chairperson of the student group Greening Dining, which aims to introduce more sustainable and local dining options on campus. In addition, she founded and continues to lead the French Book Club, is a tour guide at the Princeton University Art Museum and a peer tutor. Besides being a molecular biology concentrator, she is pursuing certificates in neuroscience and music performance.

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