Natalie Rebeyev '15From the looks of her resume, you’d never know that Natalie Rebeyev ’15 is 21 years old. Already, she’s amassed more accolades than the average person will accrue in a lifetime. But that’s not stopping her from adding another notch to her resume—arguably, her most prestigious to date.
Rebeyev, a senior in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, has been named a Gates Cambridge Scholar, enabling her to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject at the University of Cambridge (U.K.). A dual major in biology and Jewish studies, she is one of only 40 students in the United States to receive the scholarship, which is funded by the Gates Cambridge Scholarship Foundation.
Rebeyev will use the award to pursue a Ph.D. in Medical Science under the supervision of Paul Lehner at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research.
“This is an enormous accomplishment, and I couldn’t be more proud of Natalie,” says Karin Ruhlandt, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and one of six scientists who helped Rebeyev prepare for her interview with the Gates Cambridge selection committee. “She represents the very best of Syracuse University and epitomizes undergraduate excellence. This is only the beginning of what will surely be a remarkable career.”
Rebeyev had a lot of help during the application process, in addition to Dean Ruhlandt’s. She was greatly assisted by members of Syracuse’s Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA), who mentored and guided her throughout all phases of the process.
Rebeyev was also put through the proverbial ringer by other A&S faculty members, who conducted mock interviews, including Ramesh Raina, associate professor and chair of biology; Sandra Hewett, the Beverly Petterson Bishop Professor of Neuroscience and professor of biology; Kari Segraves, associate professor of biology; Robert Doyle, professor of chemistry; and James Hougland, assistant professor of chemistry.
“It was an honor to be a part of the team to help prepare Natalie for a successful meeting with the Gates Cambridge Scholarship Committee,” Hewett says. “Natalie is one of the University’s best and brightest undergraduates, and we wanted to make sure that shined during her interview. Our goal was to help reduce Natalie’s anxiety surrounding the process and to sharpen her responses to potential questions she might receive.”
By all accounts, everyone’s efforts paid off. After studying at Cambridge, Rebeyev already is plotting to return stateside for medical school. She ultimately wants to go into viral oncology, whose research involves the link between viruses and cancer.
A Bukharian woman, Rebeyev says she is committed to sharing her experiences with and supporting the goals of young women from traditional immigrant communities.
Rebeyev in the lab with Professor John Belote
“I am so incredibly excited about and humbled by this tremendous opportunity,” says Rebeyev, the first person to attend college from both sides of her family. “It signifies that any woman, regardless of upbringing, economic status, and cultural background, can achieve her highest goals. I’ve been so fortunate to be mentored by successful scientists, both male and female, and, thanks to this scholarship, I’ll be able to someday mentor aspiring scientists, as well. Furthermore, I will be able to make an impact on women by serving as an agent of change both locally and internationally. I could have never achieved this honor, if not for the support of my professors, advisors, and peers.”
In addition to being a Coronat, McNair, and Remembrance Scholar, Rebeyev is a member of The Renée Crown University Honors Program, administratively housed in A&S. She holds leadership positions with the medical fraternity Phi Delta Epsilon and the Chabad House at Syracuse University. Two summers ago, she conducted cancer research at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa (Israel) and she’s currently working on research alongside Dr. Richard Wojcikiewicz at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
The Gates Scholarships aim to build a global network of future leaders, committed to improving the lives of others. Recipients are selected based on their outstanding intellectual ability, leadership potential, and commitment to improving the lives of others. It is open to students in all fields.
To learn more about Gates Cambridge Scholarships and other competitive opportunities, visit CFSA at nationalscholarships.syr.edu. CFSA will hold an information session on fellowships in Great Britain, Ireland, and Asia on Monday, March 23, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in room 104N of the Physics Building.