Jimenez will head to the University of Cambridge this fall to undertake an a Master of Philosophy in engineering for sustainable development. His graduate studies will complement and enrich the work he has already done on structural engineering in the developing world as an MIT student and independently.
While an undergraduate at MIT, Jimenez took part in D-Lab, which allowed him to work with a community-based organization in Zambia called Light of Hope, designing and building soil blocks that are used in affordable housing; he independently acquired funding to continue this work in summer 2010. This experience led to his involvement with Bridges to Prosperity in Bolivia, conducting geographical surveys so that footbridges could be built over impassable rivers in isolated communities.
Jimenez’s outstanding work and dedication in these areas earned him a Fulbright grant last year to conduct research in the Philippines that centered on making structures more resistant to typhoons and other natural disasters. For this project, he has partnered with Gawad Kalinga, an organization in the Philippines dedicated to alleviating poverty through international volunteer work in all spheres, including infrastructure. Jimenez will complete his work in the Philippines this spring before proceeding to Cambridge University.
In all his structural engineering projects, Jimenez says he values and recognizes the importance of working with local communities and partner organizations. “When I build, I build with the people. It’s their bridge, their work, and their livelihood,” he says.
As Amy Smith, senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at MIT, notes, Jimenez “is one of those students who will make the world a better place and enrich the lives of those he works with. This scholarship provides a wonderful opportunity for him to put his belief into practice.”
With a Gates scholarship, and an MPhil from Cambridge University, Jimenez will be able to further his work in sustainable civil engineering in the developing world, working with international businesses and NGOs.
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship program was established in 2000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The scholarships cover tuition, room, board, travel and stipend for study at Cambridge University. This year, 39 students in the United States were named Gates Cambridge Scholars.
For information about the Gates Cambridge Scholarship program contact Kimberly L. Benard of the Global Education and Career Development office at firstname.lastname@example.org.