Published: Feb. 20, 2017

Derek Driggs, an undergraduate applied mathematics major, has received a Gates-Cambridge scholarship. Each year, the highly-competitive scholarship is awarded to 95 student studying outside of the UK. The scholarship is a full-ride to Cambridge University for students with “outstanding intellectual ability”, “leadership potential”, and “a commitment to improving the lives of others.”

Driggs was shocked when he received the award. “I'm incredibly honored to be a Gates scholar. After reading the impressive biographies of past winners, I questioned whether I should even apply. When I told my advisor, Professor Becker, that I thought I had only a one-in-a-million chance of receiving the Gates, he told me that even if that's true, a one-in-a-million chance is all you need. I'm thankful he gave me this advice,” Driggs said.

At the University of Colorado at Boulder, Driggs has done research with Professor Stephen Becker and Professor Keith Julien. At Cambridge, his research will focus on developing machine-learning algorithms to analyze images. He hopes to eventually create artificial intelligence that can use fMRI scans to assist medical practitioners in diagnostics. Beyond Cambridge, he hopes to continue performing research in computational mathematics, either as a university professor or in a corporate research group.

Driggs credits CU faculty with much of his success. He said, “This award reflects the dedication of CU's faculty to its students more than anything else, especially in the Applied Math department. I hope students know that with some hard work, CU's faculty can help them achieve success, however they choose to define it.”

Last year, Driggs received a Barry Goldwater scholarship. Driggs is originally from Golden, Colorado. In his free time, he enjoys fencing.