Student wins prestigious Goldwater scholarship
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 17:04
A student at the Burnett Honors College has been awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater scholarship for 2012 and is planning to travel to Switzerland in order to participate in a Research Experience for Undergraduates at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
Christopher Frye, a double major in physics and mathematics, has performed independent research in theoretical physics since fall 2010 under the supervision of Costas Efthimiou, an associate professor of physics.
Frye, who has served as both vice president and president of the Society of Physics Students, is only the fourth UCF student to have won the Goldwater award.
“Chris’ exemplary academic record and early engagement in research made him an ideal candidate for the Goldwater Scholarship,” said Nicole Gelfert, director of the Office of Prestigious Awards.
The Goldwater Scholarship is known as the most prestigious undergraduate award for research and science. It awards students who intend to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering.
According to the official Goldwater website, “The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.”
This year, the Goldwater Scholarship Foundation awarded 282 scholarships from a pool of 1,1123 applicants nominated by their colleges or universities.
“His ambition to be a leader in the field of mathematical physics is precisely the strong sense of purpose that Goldwater recipients embody,” Gelfert said.
This June, Frye will be traveling to Geneva to participate at CERN.
“I’m extremely excited because physicists there are optimistic about finding the Higgs-Boson particle,” Frye said.
Frye chose to major in mathematics and physics because he “was good at science and math and chose engineering as my major because that’s what everyone did, but then I took physics and had a deep yearn to understand everything about it and then I realized how important math was.”
Frye’s hard work in the field of mathematics and physics has also caught the attention of other organizations. He is to travel to the Netherlands at the end of the summer to give yet another presentation on his research. He has presented before on both national and local levels, which is a big part of what made him an ideal candidate for the Goldwater award.
“Preparation for these kinds of awards begins early, just as it did in Chris’ case,” Gelfert said. “These opportunities require a great deal of preparation and the Office of Prestigious Awards is here to assist students with the process and help them craft the most competitive applications possible. Hopefully, Chris’ success will inspire other UCF students to pursue these opportunities.”
Frye has another year at UCF. His future plans are to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematical physics, with a specialization in high-energy theory and ultimately conduct research in string theory and teach at the university level.
For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship, contact the Office of Prestigious Awards at 407-823-4019.