News Story

JUPS Student Vicka Heidt (CAS ’24) Receives Prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship

The Justice and Peace Studies Program would like to extend its deepest congratulations to Vicka Heidt for receiving the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, a highly selective program that provides scholars with a full-ride to Cambridge University for a postgraduate degree in any academic department. During her time at Cambridge, she will pursue a Master of Philosophy in development studies. 

What drew you towards development studies?

My passion for sustainable peacebuilding in post-conflict settings stems from being raised in an intergenerational, Russian-American household. Witnessing the consequences of unredressed harm following conflict in the Soviet Union drove my desire to study government, justice, and peacebuilding at Georgetown. The GU Justice and Peace Studies (JUPS) Department, in particular, has pushed me to think critically about the most vulnerable people in global society and my role in the interlocking fields of development and peacebuilding. My JUPS coursework exposed that the need for development is most dire in states which are experiencing active conflict or have recently emerged from conflict. I sought an MPhil in Development Studies because the field best encompassed my desire to effect person-centered change in those settings. I am confident the degree will allow me to gather a macro understanding of interdisciplinary approaches available to uplift the needs of historically neglected individuals in conflicted and post-conflict states.  

What is your most memorable experience from the Justice and Peace Studies Program? 

The network of passionate individuals and community of change-makers is, by far, my biggest takeaway from the Justice and Peace Studies Program at Georgetown. When I walk into any JUPS classroom, I am not only energetically greeted by a professor-practitioner but by students themselves who act as grassroots organizers, advocates, and leaders in their own lives. I have learned so much from reading Galtung’s writings, but I have learned even more from the people sitting next to me. 

What would you say to current undergrads considering a JUPS major, minor, or certificate? 

JUPS is important to every sector and every major at Georgetown. The coursework is not just educational, it is transformative. Try a class! 

What are you most looking forward to at Cambridge? 

Georgetown has largely shown me that what matters most is the people you are surrounded by—the ones who invest in you and you invest in them. I am overjoyed to now be a part of a new community of changemakers, both through the Development Studies Department at Cambridge and Gates Cambridge network. I am most excited to listen to and learn from my peers, and I know this experience will shape my perspective and fuel my passion to continue being a person for others.