University of Rochester undergraduate Vincent Yu '14 has recently been named a 2012 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. Yu is among the 275 recipients selected from a national pool of more than 1,100 candidates. He is the 23rd Rochester student to be named a Goldwater Scholar since 2002, an especially noteworthy achievement to earn as a sophomore.
Yu, a resident of Hong Kong, China, and native of St. Louis, Mo., is a rising junior working toward a bachelor of science degree in physics and astronomy, a bachelor of arts in mathematics, and minors in philosophy of science and computer science.
Yu's academic interests were sparked as a high school student during an honors summer math camp at Texas State University. While at camp, he worked on a project that sought to understand how certain types of material react to different gases. This hands-on experience, paired with an interest in science fiction literature, motivated Yu to study physics. At Rochester, those interests have translated into work in Professor Dan Watson's observational astronomy group. As a research assistant, Yu has spent the last year studying star formation by analyzing infrared observations from space telescopes. In fall 2012, he will study abroad at the University of Oxford, where he will study theory of computation and decision theory.
After graduation, Yu plans to pursue a doctoral degree and credits his family with influencing his career ambitions; his father is a professor of chemistry and his eldest brother also works at the university level. But, it also is Yu's driving curiosity that motivates him. "I am very much interested in studying how the world works," said Yu, who hopes to explore several different research areas while at Rochester. "And, I appreciate the many research opportunities the physics department offers undergraduates."
The Goldwater Scholarship, which is endowed by the U.S. Congress in honor of the late Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, is a competitive fellowship for undergraduate students in science, math, and engineering. The scholarship is worth up to $7,500. Each year, 10 to 20 sophomores and juniors compete for the four University of Rochester nominations to the national competition. Applicants must rank in the top quartile of their class while demonstrating outstanding research skills, potential for advanced study in their fields, and a strong commitment to pursue research-oriented careers.