CLAS graduate Kristen Downs has been awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (JKCF) Graduate Scholarship, one of the most prestigious and generous scholarships in the nation.

Kristen Downs has been awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship.

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Kristen D. Downs

Head of the CLAS

CLAS graduate Kristen Downs has been awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (JKCF) Graduate Scholarship, one of the most prestigious and generous scholarships in the nation. Kristen was one of a handful of approximately 1000 students who were nominated by a JKCF faculty representative. Each award is up to $50,000 per year for up to 6 years. The University of Florida is proud to count her as one of our own.

Kristen graduated from the University of Florida in 2006 where she studied chemistry. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and was a National Merit Scholar.

Kristen's love for science flourished at an early age. She was already participating in science fairs by the 3rd grade and by high school had received a national gold medal at the Science Olympiad. She was inspired to serve others from her parents, who had devoted their lives to public service; her father as a physician and her mother as a minister.

During her undergraduate career Kristen spent a year abroad in France. After graduation, she joined the Peace Corps to teach mathematics and science in Kenya. Her experiences in Kenya have led her to pursue graduate studies in public health and environment engineering, focusing on water, sanitation and international development.

In addition to serving others through the Peace Corps, Kristen has volunteered with Child Family Health International, taught English as a Second Language, and mentored college students with her church.

The 2008 JKCF Graduate Scholars represent a rich diversity with 20 scholars from outside the US and 42 from 25 US states. Kristen is in excellent company as the scholars go on to attend some of the world’s finest graduate and professional schools with over half planning to dedicate their careers to public service. Kristen is now in graduate school at Johns Hopkins University pursuing engineering and International NGO/Relations.

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