Josh Law is the third Ole Miss graduate to receive the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is a program established by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge.
Scholarships are awarded to students outside the United Kingdom to pursue a postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge.
Law, currently a teacher at a charter school in Denver, said he got the email notifying him of the award in between classes and went to the bathroom to check the email.
“I had to sit down I was so nervous,” Law said. “I just had to go back in (to class) and pretend life was normal again.”
At Cambridge, Law plans on pursuing a Master of Philosophy in Public Health. He ultimately plans to earn an MD or a Ph.D before returning to his home state of Alabama to practice.
“I just have so many questions about what it’s like to be healthy for me as an individual, for my family and friends, but also what would an actual functioning society look like,” Law said. “I’m just so excited to get to study that.”
Law jokingly said that, since he has been named a Gates Cambridge Scholar, people have been talking to him as if he understands much more than he does.
“I understand very little about the functionings of this planet,” Law said. “I applied because I didn’t know very much, and I thought that maybe (Cambridge) would be a place that would help me get a few more answers.”
Law, who holds a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Ole Miss, believes religion plays an important role in health care.
“If you ask an American why it’s important that we fight for global health equality, many of them are going to say that it’s this mission from God, that it’s important for them to fight for the dignity of all persons on the planet,” Law said. “That’s a really powerful statement, and I think it helps in understanding human motives.”
Law is a graduate of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. He said Tim Dolan, the director of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement at the University of Mississippi, first told him about the scholarship and worked with him throughout his senior year at Ole Miss.
“Tim Dolan is a man anyone in the honors college should go and see,” Law said. “He’s been working with me and has continued to support by reading applications, providing mock interviews.”
Dolan said he always knew Law was a qualified candidate but was still pleasantly surprised when he heard Law won.
“I’m very excited for (Law) and for my office and for the university,” Dolan said. “It’s a distinct honor. It’s a very prestigious scholarship.”
SMBHC Dean Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez considers Law’s scholarship a great victory and hopes it helps him effect real change.
“We are unbelievably excited to have a student recognized on an international level for his academic commitment to the questions that are driving us as a people to understand what we shall do in this world,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said.
Law said he was an uninterested learner in high school, but Ole Miss made him want to do more than just make passing grades.
“(Ole Miss) showed me that smart people could be nice and also care,” Law said. “They told me that I could disagree with people and that I could still think the world of them.”
Dolan said that he thinks that the scholarship reflects the quality of education Law received at Ole Miss.
“It’s really an honor. It’s a competitive scholarship, and so, our students rank against some of the most prestigious colleges in the country,” Dolan said. “I think it speaks well to the faculty that we have here and the admissions recruiting to bring in high quality students who come here to get a great education.”
Law said that the education he received from Ole Miss prepared him for this scholarship.
“There’s not even a doubt that I could’ve even applied or even known what the scholarship was had it not been for Ole Miss and the honors college,” Law said.