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Jonathan DeRocher

Jonathan DeRocher is the first University of Minnesota student to win the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

U student wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship

By Bob San, University News Service

Published on April 13, 2005

Jonathan DeRocher, a senior majoring in chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, has won a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for 2005-06.

This prestigious scholarship, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000, is awarded to 78 people worldwide (35 in the United States) each year for study at the University of Cambridge in England.

The scholarship pays for all tuition and fees for DeRocher's study at Cambridge, and an additional stipend covers living expenses. DeRocher, who is in the Institute of Technology Honors Program, intends to complete a one-year certificate program at Cambridge and return to the United States for further graduate study.

"The scholarship is pretty exclusive, and I feel very honored to have received this scholarship," says DeRocher, a graduate of Lutheran High School in Mayer, Minnesota. "I owe the U of M, and especially the chemical engineering department, for most of my success. They have prepared me to compete with the best students in the nation."

DeRocher will leave for England in September and will work with Dr. Geoff Moggridge on using materials called block copolymers to fabricate nanoporous thin films.

"These are thin polymer membranes with monodisperse pores with diameters of around 15 nanometers," he explains. "The target application for now is water purification. These pores are small enough to filter out viruses. Hopefully, this technology could replace chemical treatment of water."

DeRocher says the scholarship, and the experience he will gain from it, will enhance his academic and professional careers, and experiencing another culture will "broaden my horizons."

DeRocher's parents both have ties to the University. His father Paul is a software engineer who received a B.S. degree in math from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and his mother Linda, who teaches piano lessons, received B.A. and M.A. degrees in piano performance from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.