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USC student awarded Gates scholarship to pursue Ph.D. at Cambridge

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Staff Report
Published Feb. 15, 2016

University of South Carolina senior Eric Bringley has been named a Gates Cambridge Scholarship recipient, one of the top international scholarships in the world. The Irmo High School graduate, who plans to pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge in England, is the first USC student to earn the prestigious scholarship.


Eric bringley head shot
“We are so proud that Eric has earned Carolina's first prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship. His intellect, leadership and commitment to improving the lives of others are hallmarks of the Carolina experience and epitomize the qualities sought in Gates Cambridge Scholars,” USC president Harris Pastides said. “I am delighted that he will have this tremendous opportunity to expand Carolina's global reach through his study, research and collaborations at Cambridge.”

Bringley is one of 35 students from 28 institutions in the United States to receive the scholarship. They will join about 55 scholars from other parts of the world.

The postgraduate scholarship program was established in 2000 through a $210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which remains the largest single donation to a U.K. university. Since the first class of scholars in 2001, more than 1,500 Gates Cambridge scholarships have been awarded to students from 103 countries and 600 universities.

The scholarship program is highly competitive with more than 4,500 applications for approximately 90 scholarships annually. The program places emphasis on both outstanding academic ability and social leadership.

Bringley, of Irmo, will graduate in May with a degree in chemical engineering and minors in mathematics and chemistry from the South Carolina Honors College. At Cambridge, he will be one of the 13 U.S. winners who will pursue a doctorate, while 22 others will study for one-year master’s degrees.

“By applying to the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, I seek to surround myself with a diverse, motivated and selfless group of colleagues,” Bringley said. “Cambridge and the Gates Cambridge program will provide me with a platform to build upon my modeling and computational studies while applying them in an altruistic, interdisciplinary setting.”

A 2014 Goldwater Scholar, he spent the summer of 2015 as an American Chemical Society International Research Experience for Undergraduates Fellow, conducting research in Ulm, Germany. Bringley also is president of USC's student section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

At Carolina, Bringley’s research career has led him to complete 13 technical presentations and two publications. Bringley plans to use the doctorate he earns at Cambridge to help society through the use of science and technology.

Bringley is the son of James and Sandy Bringley.

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