NMSU graduate wins Gates Cambridge scholarship

Writer: Justin Bannister

Mohammad Ghassemi, a recent New Mexico State University electrical engineering graduate, has won a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for 2010. The scholarship, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, pays the full cost for students from outside the United Kingdom to pursue graduate study and research at Cambridge University in England.


Mohammad Ghassemi, a recent New Mexico State University electrical engineering graduate, has won a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for 2010. (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)

“This is a major scholarship, equivalent to a Rhodes Scholarship, only for science,” said William Eamon, dean of NMSU’s Honors College. “As far as we know, Mohammad is the first student from a New Mexico university to win this scholarship. He’s an outstanding student who brings pride to NMSU.”

Ghassemi’s goal is to obtain a master’s degree in bioscience enterprise, followed by a multidisciplinary, bioengineering doctorate degree. Afterward, he would like to start his own company to focus on developing and distributing engineering solutions to significant health issues. He is currently working as the solar engineering lead at Visible Light Solar Technologies in Albuquerque, where he has developed two patents.

“I’m indebted to NMSU for the world-class training it gave me. While at Cambridge, I plan to pursue a multidisciplinary program to bridge the gap between my technical knowledge and the specific entrepreneurial skills needed to bring revolutionary biotechnologies to the general public,” Ghassemi said.

“The College of Engineering is extremely pleased to learn that Mohammad has been awarded a scholarship from the Gates Foundation. This scholarship is very prestigious and shows that NMSU has the highest caliber students who are able to compete with anyone,” said Kenneth R. White, interim dean of the NMSU College of Engineering.

“Mohammad’s story should be an inspiration to all NMSU students who aspire to do great things,” said Tracey Miller-Tomlinson, associate honors dean and director of the college’s Office of National Scholarships and International Education.

“The Gates Scholarship competition is open students from all over the world. That Mohammad was chosen to receive this award testifies to the fact that he is a world-class engineering student and a future leader in his field,” she said.

With ONSIE’s assistance, NMSU students have won nearly $1.5 million in national and international scholarship funding. Ghassemi is one of five NMSU students who have won Goldwater Scholarships, the most prestigious award in engineering, science and mathematics for undergraduate students across the nation.

Ghassemi was the spring 2008 recipient of the NMSU Alumni Association Outstanding Senior Award for the College of Engineering. He maintained a 3.98 grade point average throughout college while pursuing two majors, a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in applied science. He also minored in computer science.

Ghassemi’s sister, Marzyeh, also an NMSU graduate, was a 2005-06 Goldwater Scholar, named to USA Today’s All-USA College Academic Team and also won a 2008 British Marshall Scholarship to study at Oxford. His father, Abbas Ghassemi, is the director of the NMSU-based WERC, a consortium for environmental education and technology development.

For more information about the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, visit http://www.gatesscholar.org.

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