Southridge grad Cambridge-bound

Former South Surrey student named recipient of prestigious Gates Cambridge scholarship.

Krittika D'Silva

A Southridge School grad has been named a 2016 Gates Cambridge Scholar, paving the way for her doctorate studies at the prestigious U.K. university.

Krittika D’Silva, who graduated from Southridge in 2011, is currently completing a double major in computer science and bioengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle.

She is one of 55 scholars from around the world – and only three across Canada – to receive this year’s honour, selected from a pool of more than 3,700 applicants.

The scholarship was established in 2000 with a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge, and each year the honour is awarded to applicants who demonstrate “outstanding intellectual ability, leadership potential and commitment to improving the lives of others.”

It provides recipients with a stipend for tuition fees and accommodation, which D’Silva estimated to be valued at US$150,000.

D’Silva, 21, told Peace Arch News this week that she was surprised to hear she had been selected as a 2016 recipient, given the high level of competition among applicants.

While she has two months left before completing her undergraduate degree, D’Silva will be heading to England this summer where she will be doing an internship at Google London.

Last summer, she interned at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., and prior to that she completed an internship at Microsoft Research India, where she worked on a team developing a mobile app for citizen journalists in rural parts of the country.

She said she’s “counting down the days” until she starts at Cambridge this fall, where she will be working towards a PhD in computer science.

“I’m not sure of the exact work I will be doing but I’d like to focus on mobile systems, which is what I’ve done in the past,” D’Silva said. “If I can add applications for health care, that would be great, too.”

She credits the “emphasis on being well-rounded” that she experienced at Southridge as one of the factors that has helped her to where she is today.

“They’re also very focused on academics, and that helps set you up to succeed in university,” she said.

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