Senior Robert Penna was one of twelve students nationwide to be named a 2007 Churchill Scholar on Monday, the first such honor for a UR student since 2002. The award includes one year of study at Churchill College at Cambridge University in England paid in full, as well as living and travel allowances.

According to the Winston Churchill Foundation, awards are given based on grade point average (winers often have above a 3.7) and Graduate Record Examinations, along with, “A capacity to pursue original, creative work as shown by special recognition and letters of reference and to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the sciences, engineering, or mathematics” and “outstanding personal qualities as demonstrated by leadership, activities, [and] social engagement.”

Penna will enroll in part III of the Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge, which upon completion will give him a Certificate of Advanced Study in Mathematics. The certificate is comparable to a masters degree in mathematics. His focus will be in the areas of physics and astrophysics.

“It’s a tremendous honor and I’m very humbled to be in such company,” Penna said. “My thanks go out to my family, friends and mentors. I think the award very much reflects how fortunate I am to have their guidance and support.”

This is not the first national award for Penna. Last year, he was named a Goldwater Scholar by the Barry Goldwater Foundation. That award includes up to $7,500 to pay for undergraduate tuition and is given to less than 300 students every year.

Penna has taken part in numerous physics research projects since his freshman year. Currently, he is working with sophomore Kristi Beck on a science radio show, “Science Matters,” which should begin broadcasting on WRUR in the near future. By week’s end, the pair will have ten shows recorded and ready for air.

During his time at UR, Penna has served as the President and Social Chair of the Society of Physics Students. He was also a Freshman Fellow during his junior year.

Moeller is a member of the class of 2009.

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