University of Rochester

University of Rochester Students Earn National Science Awards

April 21, 2005

Three University of Rochester students have earned national awards that support study in the sciences or engineering. Seniors Yude Chen and Robert Forties have been selected to receive a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Sophomore Robert Penna has been named a 2005 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar.

Penna, of Eden, N.Y., is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in honors mathematics as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. He is active in the Society of Physics Students and the Society of Undergraduate Math Students and performs with the University Marching and Pep Band. This summer, Penna will work on a research project in theoretical astrophysics at California Institute of Technology. He also has submitted a research paper on the effects of solar storms on cosmic rays to The Journal of Geophysical Research.

Penna is the 12th University of Rochester student since 2000 to be named a Goldwater Scholar. The Goldwater Scholarship Program, named in honor of Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, supports outstanding undergraduate students who plan to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering. It is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields. Selection is based on academic achievement, prior research experience, scholarly promise, and career goals. Approximately 300 Goldwater Scholars are named each year.

Chen, of Brooklyn, is completing a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in mathematics. He is a McNair Scholar, a program with the goal of increasing the numbers of underrepresented minority students pursuing doctoral degrees and careers in research and teaching at the university level. At Rochester, Chen is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Tau Beta Pi honor society and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa this spring. He also is a teaching assistant in engineering and mathematics courses. Chen will enter the graduate program in fluid mechanics at Stanford University this fall.

Forties, of Irondequoit, is completing a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. At the University, he is an active member of the Sigma Pi Sigma physics honor society and Phi Beta Kappa. As a member of the Society of Physics Students, he has been a tutor since his freshman year and served as the groupís president in his sophomore and junior years. He is currently working to organize an outreach effort that will take physics demonstrations to local schools. Forties is also a member of the roller hockey team. In the fall, he will enter the doctoral program in physics at Ohio State University.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are awarded to outstanding college and university students for graduate study in the natural sciences, selected social sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Selection is based on academic record, previous research experience, and proposed plan of research. Approximately 1,000 NSF Graduate Research Fellows are named each year.