University of Notre Dame senior Gregory Serapio-García has been selected for the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge in England.
A psychology major and Idzik Computing and Digital Technologies Program minor in the College of Arts and Letters, Serapio-García is one of 34 Gates Cambridge Scholars representing 37 colleges or universities across the U.S.
A native of San Ramon, California, Serapio-García will pursue a doctorate in psychology at Cambridge.
Specifically, he will analyze social media big data to improve mental health assessment, with the long-term goal of improving the lives of the mentally vulnerable and more thoroughly informing policymakers and leaders in the technology industry on social data ethics.
He also hopes to mentor undergraduate students of color and increase LGBTQ representation in academia at Cambridge.
“I am humbled to be named a Gates Cambridge Scholar and feel deeply grateful for the many Notre Dame friends, faculty mentors and benefactors that have supported me along the way. I am indebted to Dr. David Watson, Dr. Lee Anna Clark and Dr. Daniel Lapsley in the Department of Psychology for their countless hours of help and guidance,” Serapio-García said.
He continued, “As a Gates Cambridge Scholar and social data scientist, I hope to inform the next generation of the world’s best physicians, lawyers, philosophers and educators of both the promise of online social data in transforming mental health care and the moral imperative to combat the exploitative use of big data in this proliferating field. I thank my Notre Dame education for deepening my concern for the common good and calling me to serve as an advocate for those overlooked by society.”
Serapio-García is a Phi Beta Kappa early inductee, an honor reserved for roughly 10 students of Notre Dame’s graduating class of 2019; an undergraduate fellow of the Notre Dame International Security Center; and a Glynn Scholar in the Glynn Family Honors Program. He is the past recipient of a Da Vinci Multidisciplinary Summer Research Grant, a Congressional Award for Youth Citizenship and a competitive National Science Foundation Computational Social Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) fellowship, which allowed him to study how social media data can computationally predict mental illness traits.
Outside of class, Serapio-García has served as a research intern at the Center for Research Computing at Notre Dame in association with the NSF-REU fellowship, a paid teaching assistant in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, a Building Bridges peer mentor for underrepresented first-year students and a research assistant and advanced clinical interviewer at the Center for Advanced Measurement of Personality and Psychopathology.
As an undergraduate at Notre Dame, Serapio-García has secured more than $30,000 in research grant awards to study cross-cultural, personality and cyber psychology. He has presented his work at national and international research conferences and continues to research the intersection of the internet, mental health and data science in his senior honors thesis.
In applying for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, Serapio-García worked with the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement at Notre Dame, which promotes the intellectual development of undergraduates through scholarly engagement, research, creative endeavors and the pursuit of fellowships. He also worked closely with the Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services’ Building Bridges Mentoring Program.
“Greg has made tremendous intellectual contributions to our lab, and it has been a delight to work with him over the past several years,” said David Watson, Andrew J. McKenna Family Professor of Psychology and co-director of the Center for the Advanced Measurement of Personality and Psychopathology at Notre Dame. “He has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity for research and scholarship during his time at Notre Dame; I have never worked with another undergraduate student who is so independent in conducting innovative research. Greg is intellectually curious, highly ambitious and thinks deeply about important issues.”
Established by a $210 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship recognizes students from outside the United Kingdom who demonstrate outstanding intellectual ability, leadership potential and a commitment to improving the lives of others. The award covers tuition, cost of living, travel and inbound visa costs, health care costs and other related costs on a discretionary basis.
Including Serapio-García, eight Notre Dame students or alumni have accepted the Gates Cambridge Scholarship since it was first offered in 2000 — six from the College of Arts and Letters, one from the College of Science and one from the School of Architecture.
For more information on this and other fellowship opportunities, visit cuse.nd.edu.
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