Fourth-year economics and history student Tim Rudnicki wins Gates Cambridge scholarship

Tim Rudnicki is one of 40 students in the United States to win a full-cost Gates Cambridge scholarship to continue his studies at the University of Cambridge next fall.

The fourth-year from Barrington, Ill. plans to pursue an MPhil in economic and social history at Cambridge, with hopes of working in international economic development. All of his expenses will be paid through the prestigious and highly competitive scholarship.

“The work that researchers at Cambridge are doing is setting the agenda for the field, so there is no better place for me to study British economic history,” Rudnicki said. He is interested in seeing how the economic development of Britain between the 14th and 19th centuries might apply in the developing world.

Recipients of the Gates Cambridge scholarship are usually students whose work and goals align with those of the Gates Foundation, to combat poverty and poor health in developing countries.

While the study of the emergence of capitalism in Britain may not immediately seem like a match, Rudnicki says he is determined to use the past as inspiration for the present and future. “I think global poverty can be reduced through sound economic policies,” he said.

Closer to home, Rudnicki worked in health clinics on the South Side as a volunteer for the student group Health Leads, connecting patients in distress to resources like safe housing, employment, child care and food.

Rudnicki was inspired by the work, and soon formed a student group that focused on a single health clinic. The group, called “Connect,” helped create partnerships between the clinic and local churches, food banks, and childcare and employment organizations.

At UChicago, Rudnicki has been a research assistant for Glen Weyl and Mark Loeffler, assistant professor of economics and collegiate assistant professor of social sciences, respectively. He also has shown the campus to prospective students and their families as a tour coordinator in the Office of College Admissions and has served on the board of the Perspective Student Advisory Committee.

Rudnicki said the University of Chicago has offered him the “best of both worlds” as an undergraduate. “It offers a small College experience with all the resources of the city of Chicago and a large research institution,” he said.

Rudnicki will travel to the United Kingdom for the first time when he begins his studies at Cambridge. He said he is looking forward to meeting the other scholarship winners and joining a global network of future leaders committed to social progress.