For University of Florida alum Yevgen Sautin, near-misses have proved the best teacher. Sautin, 25, was a finalist for the coveted Truman Scholarship his junior year at UF and a Rhodes Scholar nominee his senior year, but he walked away from both contests empty-handed.
And then in 2012, he graduated from UF with a triple degree in history, economics and political science. He earned a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago followed by a stint at National Taiwan University as a Boren Fellow.
Now, Sautin, who works for the U.S. Bank in Washington, D.C., as a strategic risk analyst, is the recipient of a prestigious 2016 Gates Cambridge Scholarship. The prize was bestowed this year to only 35 applicants from a pool of more than 800.
Awarded for superior academic excellence, leadership potential and commitment to improving the lives of others, it will take Sautin to Cambridge, where he will spend three years working toward a Ph.D. in modern Chinese history.
None of his success would be possible, Sautin reflected, without the foundation he received at UF, particularly in the UF Honors Program.
“The University of Florida gave me tremendous opportunities, without which I would not be where I am today,” he said. “I was in a perfect environment to thrive and figure out what sort of subsequent career and academic path I wanted to take.”
Looking ahead, Sautin said he hopes to work in foreign policy development, but he’s open to whatever comes next.
“When facing choices, you should go with what’s most interesting,” he said. “Not the most prestigious, but what you enjoy doing.”