Presidential Scholar alumnus wins elite Gates
scholarship to Cambridge polar institute

Evan MilesA former Presidential Scholar with a passion for hydrology, mountaineering, and world travel has been chosen for a highly competitive international scholarship to one of the world's most prestigious universities.

Evan Miles '08, '11, is the first Gates Cambridge Scholar from OSU.

Established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the scholarships enable outstanding graduate students from outside the United Kingdom to study at the University of Cambridge. Evan will work toward his doctorate in Polar Studies at the university's Scott Polar Research Institute.

"Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and I want to focus on that for my career," he says. "Glaciers around the world are retreating, and that impacts people in many ways — from rising sea levels to reduced water supply for agriculture."

In the Himalayas of Nepal near the Tibetan border, Evan will study how hazardous lakes can form as glaciers melt. Sediment and ice may create temporary dams, but when the dam breaks, a torrent of water will be released, threatening everything in its path for as far as 50 miles.

A Portland native, Evan received his first immersion in water issues through the OSU chapter of Engineers Without Borders. He was part of the pioneering student team that built a rainwater catchment system for a remote school in El Salvador, a pilot design that has since been refined and used by the chapter in other locations.

After graduating with Honors degrees in Mechanical Engineering and International Studies, he completed his master’s degree in Water Resources in 2011. For the last year he has been working as part of a regional glacier modeling project at the University of British Columbia.

Evan credits his Presidential Scholarship for attracting him to OSU in the first place. "Presidential Scholarships allow OSU's best students to focus on pursuing their studies with minimal distraction, and that allows them to do their best work," he says. "After graduation, it enabled me to be flexible and consider all possibilities."


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Presidential Scholarship Initiative: an matching opportunity for donors who establish endowed Presidential Scholarships (available at half the usual minimum commitment level)


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