To study Classics at Cambridge, Michael Antosiewicz ’18 wins coveted Gates Scholarship

Michael Antosiewicz ’18 discusses his research with VP for Undergraduate Education and Professor Emeritus of English Barry V. Qualls (left) in April 2016

Michael Antosiewicz ’18, who will graduate from the School of Arts and Sciences in Rutgers-New Brunswick with a double major in Classics (Greek and Latin concentration) and History and a minor in Philosophy, is one of just 35 US students this year to be newly awarded a scholarship for graduate study at Cambridge University by the Gates Cambridge Trust. Starting this fall, Michael will pursue a M.Phil. degree in Classics at Cambridge’s Sidney Sussex College under the direction of Kennedy Professor of Latin Stephen Oakley.  You can see the 16 February 2018 announcement of the new class of Gates Cambridge Scholars here.

“As an undergraduate at Rutgers”, says Michael in his official Gates biography, “I discovered my intellectual passions at the nexus of Classical languages and cultural history…At Cambridge, I will integrate these focuses by studying Roman historiography and the Classical reception. My central concern involves historical consciousness and the sociology of memory. I am fascinated with how the category of the Classics is under negotiation and frames the way cultures interact with the past and their own histories. Ultimately, I intend to take a comparative approach to the Classical tradition and concentrate on its legacy in the nineteenth century United States.” He continues, “I recognize that this distinction challenges me to ensure that my studies benefit others.”

Portrait of Michael Antosiewicz ’18 as a 2016/7 Lloyd C. Gardner Fellow in Leadership and Social Policy

The scholarship program was established in 2000 by a donation to Cambridge University from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and fully funds study and housing for the duration of a student’s degree. In late March the Trust will offer a further 55 scholarships to candidates from up to 100 other countries, excluding the United Kingdom. Competition for the award is fierce. One notes that fully 15 of the 35 members of the Gates Cambridge US class of 2018 already hold an advanced degree, and of these, one is a Rhodes Scholar alumna of Oxford, another a past Gates Scholar at Cambridge.

The Gates Scholarship’s stated mission is to create a global network of students with outstanding academic achievements as well as passionate future leaders that are committed to improving the lives of others. Significantly, there is no Gates Cambridge application separate from the Cambridge graduate application. Students who have been selected for admission by Cambridge then must be nominated by the relevant department for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship; those put forward are considered the most academically outstanding applicants the department has received that year. After rigorous review, shortlisted US candidates are invited for an interview; Michael traveled to Seattle for his.

Thanks in no small part to Rutgers’ Office of Distinguished Fellowships, the University’s students have had impressive success in receiving the Cambridge Gates scholarship since its foundation, with now ten awards in the past eleven years. However, of the ca. 650 US Gates Scholars from 2000 to present, Michael is just the ninth from any institution to pursue a degree in Classics.

Sidney Sussex College (founded 1596) in Cambridge University. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Michael Antosiewicz hails from Ridgewood NJ and graduated from Ridgewood High School in 2014. At Rutgers, a full list of his activities, accomplishments and honors would be long indeed. He is a member of the School of Arts and Sciences Honors program; senior peer advisor for the Rutgers Aresty Undergraduate Research program (which involves ca. 500 students); a past officer in the Rutgers Undergraduate Philosophy Club; a tutor at the Plangere Writing Center; and an anchor of the WRSU Rutgers Radio Sports Department, for which he calls play-by-play (especially wrestling and football) and produces on-air Rutgers athletic events as well as co-hosts the station’s weekly “Morning Drive” show.

Michael’s academic distinctions include selection for Rutgers’ Aresty Undergraduate Research program (AY 2015/6); the Gardner Fellowship Program in Leadership (2016/7); the Rutgers Archaeological Field School in Vacone (Lazio), Italy (summer 2016); and the Gilder Lehrman History Scholar Award (summer 2017). You can see examples of Michael’s academic work (in this instance, a new edition and translation of a startling 16th century Papal letter) here and here.

And for the future? “I am particularly interested in history education, especially in underserved communities, and in continuing my work at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York City”, says Michael in his Gates biography. And here at Rutgers Classics, we predict a very bright future for this impressive young scholar!

Cambridge Gates Scholar-Elect Michael Antosiewicz ’18 at Rutgers Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium in April 2016


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