University of Rochester

University of Rochester Senior Awarded Churchill Scholarship

January 22, 2008

Honor Bestowed Upon a University of Rochester Student for Second Consecutive Year

Andrew Niles, a senior honors mathematics major at the University of Rochester, has been named a 2008 Churchill Scholar and will advance his studies at the University of Cambridge this fall.

The scholarships, offered to just 12 outstanding students nationally each year, enable recipients to pursue graduate work in engineering, mathematics, and the physical and natural sciences. Niles will pursue a Certificate of Advanced Study in Mathematics, known as Part III of the Mathematical Tripos.

The prestigious honor marks the second time in as many years that a mathematics student from the University's College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering has been awarded a Churchill Scholarship. The University of Rochester is one of a select group of distinguished colleges and universities invited to nominate undergraduates for the award.

A native of Concord, N.H., Niles is no stranger to academic achievement. He was named a Goldwater Scholar last year, is on track to graduate in four years with a bachelor's and master's degree in mathematics, and won the Stoddard Prize, awarded each year to the University's best sophomore math student. He plans to earn his doctoral degree in mathematics upon his return from studying abroad.

Niles co-authored two papers as a result of his participation in the National Science Foundation's highly-selective Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, one of which is pending publication in a professionally refereed journal. One of his research projects, conducted on a more than 350-year-old computational algebra problem during the summer of 2006, led to Niles presenting his findings at the MEGA 2007 conference in Austria. He was the only student presenter at the event, which is considered the premiere international conference in the field of algebraic geometry.

"Galileo said that math is the language of the universe," said Niles, 22. "That's basically how I look at it. I just want to make some contribution to it. You have no idea what fields you may be helping in the long run because mathematics is everywhere."

Niles is the co-editor-in-chief of the University's Journal of Undergraduate Research, a cellist in the University's Chamber Orchestra, past winner of the University's concerto piano competition, and an accompanist for the men's glee club. He has studied Arabic, German, Latin, and Russian, and is also an economics minor.

The Churchill Scholarship covers all tuition and fees, valued at roughly $25,000, and provides upward of $20,000 for living expenses and travel costs.

Faculty and administrators who have worked closely with Niles welcomed news of the scholarship.

"Andrew has a real thirst for knowledge, and a natural ability to integrate ideas from diverse areas of study," said Naomi Jochnowitz, an associate professor in mathematics who has had extensive academic interaction with Niles. "He's everything one would want in a student."

Established in 1959 as an expression of admiration for Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the Winston Churchill Foundation began offering scholarships to American students of exceptional ability in 1963.