Posted February 17, 2021

Introducing Temple’s first Gates Cambridge Scholarship winner

Alex Voisine from the College of Liberal Arts is one of only 25 students from the U.S. to receive this prestigious scholarship.

Alex Voisine standing in front of a cityscape.
Photography By: 
Courtesy of Alex Voisine
Alex Voisine credits his international experiences, studying abroad in Italy, Spain and Ecuador as well as his work in Mexico, with informing his service and research.

Alex Voisine, CLA ‘18, is no stranger to winning prestigious awards for international study. As a Spanish and global studies major in the Honors Program, Voisine secured a Fulbright Award that enabled him to complete a master’s degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His latest accomplishment is just par for the course. 

Voisine is now Temple’s first-ever Gates Cambridge Scholarship recipient. The scholarship awards students with demonstrated academic excellence, a commitment to improving the lives of others and a capacity for leadership. 

Only about 25 U.S. and 60 international students win this highly competitive award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation annually. Each winner is offered a full scholarship for a postgraduate degree of their choosing at Cambridge University. 

Voisine becoming Temple’s first Gates Cambridge Scholarship winner is the latest in a recent series of historic award firsts for the university: the first Rhodes Scholar; the first Goldwater Scholar; the first Knight-Hennessy Scholar; and the first Carnegie Endowment Gaither Junior Fellow. 

Temple also continues to be a top producer of Student Fulbright grantees—Voisine was part of the 2018 Fulbright cohort from CLA, a year during which the university had 11 grantees. 

He’s also a finalist to become Temple’s second-ever Knight-Hennessy Scholar, an award that would take him to Stanford University to pursue a PhD.

“My education at Temple in the College of Liberal Arts was a fundamental part of how I envision the world and my position within it,” said Voisine. “Without the support of Temple, both during my time there and beyond, certainly none of this would have been possible. I feel deep gratitude and respect for the education I received and for those who helped me along the way.”

Director of Scholar Development and Fellowships Advising Barbara Gorka first met Voisine as a sophomore who was getting involved with refugee, immigrant and international student populations, co-founding Freely Magazine and Temple Refugee Outreach. 

“Alex is a rare scholar whose research is informed by his service, and whose service benefits from his research,” said Gorka. “He has always been very generous with his time and expertise. He has advised and guided numerous other Temple students who have applied for Fulbrights in Mexico.” 

She watched Voisine grow as a student and saw his research and service intersect as he wrote his senior capstone on LGBTQIA+ asylum policy in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. As a Temple graduate at UNAM, Voisine then wrote his thesis based on his research on LGBTQIA+ migrants and refugees living in Mexico.

“His selection proves Temple students have more options for when they can apply for big, national awards,” said Gorka. “Both Hazim Hardeman—our Rhodes Scholar—and now Alex Voisine applied as recent alumni, not as seniors.”

After graduating from Temple, Voisine took a job at the United Nations’ Mexico City office. There he researched the treatment of LGBTQIA+ refugees and migrants by institutions, particularly in regards to protecting their personal data. The experience helped Voisine realize that while he wants a career in teaching and research, he’d like that career to intersect with NGOs and projects that apply classroom learning to improving people’s lives.

“My moments at Temple were critical to putting those puzzle pieces together,” said Voisine.

Read the full story to learn more about Voisine’s path and where he’s heading next

-Nick Santangelo