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Two Northwestern Students Awarded Churchill Scholarships

The Winston Churchill Foundation has awarded two seniors scholarships to pursue graduate studies at the University of Cambridge.

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February 17, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Winston Churchill Foundation has awarded Northwestern University seniors Yoni Kahn and Rene Boiteau Churchill Scholarships to pursue graduate studies at the University of Cambridge.

They were selected from among 99 nominees for the 14 scholarships available. Eligible universities, consisting of the top schools in the nation, are allowed to nominate only two qualified applicants. Eligible students must display high academic achievement and the capacity to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their field.

Rene Boiteau of Ashland, Mass., is a senior in the honors Integrated Science Program, majoring in chemistry and earth and planetary sciences. This year he is working in the chemistry laboratory of Thomas Meade, Eileen M. Foell Professor in Cancer Research and professor of chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology, neurobiology and physiology, and radiology, developing new MRI probes for detecting zinc. Last summer, Boiteau worked as an intern for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on a Hollings Scholarship.

"Boiteau has built up an excellent educational and research record at Northwestern," says SonBinh T. Nguyen, professor of chemistry, Dow Chemical Company Research Professor and director of the Integrated Science Program.

At Cambridge, Boiteau will conduct paleoclimatology research to understand the role of ocean chemistry in regulating green house gas levels and global climate change. Boiteau plans to return to the U.S. to obtain a PhD in earth sciences and conduct environmental research and become a professor.

Yoni Kahn of San Jose, Calif., is a senior majoring in physics, mathematics, and music performance with a minor in music composition. He was awarded the Josephine De Kármán Scholarship last spring in high energy physics. Out of the 12 recipients nationwide he was one of only two undergraduate winners. He studied at the École Polytechnique in France and spent a summer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland.

"Kahn is an exceptional undergraduate student," says Tim Tait, assistant professor of physics and astronomy. "He has successfully completed several projects in experimental and theoretical particle physics including published works in peer-reviewed journals -- something that usually takes graduate students a few years to accomplish."

At Cambridge, Kahn will pursue the Certificate of Advanced Study in Applied Mathematics where he hopes to achieve a deeper understanding of theoretical physics and its mathematical foundations. Kahn plans to return to the U.S. to earn a PhD in theoretical physics and become a professor.

In 2007 and 2008 respectively, Boiteau and Kahn received the Goldwater Scholarship for outstanding students pursuing careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. It is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

The Churchill Scholarship covers all tuition and fees, including airfare and living allowance, for a nine or twelve month program in the Churchill College at Cambridge.

Established in 1959, the Winston Churchill Foundation was founded by American friends of Churchill who wanted to fulfill his wish of always having young American graduate students at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge.

The Foundation's Scholarship Program offers American citizens of exceptional ability and outstanding achievement the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in engineering, mathematics, or the sciences at Cambridge. One of the newer colleges at the University of Cambridge, Churchill College was built in tribute to Winston Churchill, who in the years after the Second World War recognized the growing importance of science and technology for prosperity and security. Churchill College focuses on the sciences, engineering, and mathematics.