Yuntong Ma CC’12 has received a prestigious Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the United Kingdom to pursue graduate degrees at the University of Cambridge.
Ma, who majored in Neuroscience and Behavior at the College, will use the scholarship to pursue an MPhil in Sociology.
Ma, who is originally from Houston, is currently a third-year medical student at Washington University in St. Louis. At Cambridge, she plans to study the experience of infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in the British Chinese community.
“I feel very honored and overwhelmed to have received the scholarship,” said Ma, who will be taking a year off from medical school for the scholarship. “Sociology and medical anthropology are areas that I have been gravitating toward for a long time, but I didn't receive a lot of exposure [to them] in medical school, and I never imagined that there would be such a wonderful opportunity like the Gates Cambridge to take time away to fully immerse myself in learning and engaging deeply with these topics.”
As an undergraduate, Ma studied abroad at Tsinghua University in Beijing and served as an editor of The Gadfly, experiences which, Ma says, piqued her interest in the narratives of “the transitions that migrants experience when moving from an old place to a new one, bringing their beliefs, cultures and social structures into a new setting, and the process of how these frameworks are reconfigured and adapted through the process of acculturation.” As a medical student, she spent time in Kuala Lumpur, examining the epidemiology of HPV infection in Malaysia to inform the implementation of a national HPV screening program.
Ma is interested in women’s health, fertility patterns and reproductive decision-making in marginalized populations.
“With the increasing globalization of assisted reproductive technologies, there are going to be new dilemmas and challenges that come with the development of all these new technologies,” Ma said. “I am hoping that through the MPhil and my research, I will be participating in and generating dialogue that can be a collaboration between medicine and sociology about the effect of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) on people’s lives and how we can go about implementing them equitably in a changing world.”