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Overachieving pays

Not content with three Rhodes scholars, the University of Chicago is churning out still more scholarship winners. Catherine Potter has been awarded the Truman and Chris Calderone has received the Churchill, while Sarah Bagby, Matthew Gealy, and Andrew Tolland have received Goldwaters.

One of 75 American college students to be recognized this year by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, Potter will use her $30,000 award to pursue a master’s degree in public policy, focusing on gender equality in the workplace, in education, and at home. “What is great about the Truman foundation is that it links you to people who are serious and passionate about their issues,” says the third-year English concentrator. “The foundation is interested in how individuals are going to exact social change.”

Last year, as co-director of Student Teachers, a group that provides after-school mentoring programs for local youth, Potter expanded the participants from one to three elementary schools, and from 50 to 100 students. This past year, she has coordinated volunteers for Student Teachers; tutored through the Washington Park Youth Program; sung for Men in Drag, an a cappella student group; danced in Jazz Alive!, a dance troupe she founded; and written for the Maroon.

Earlier this year, the College received the Truman Foundation Honor Institution Award for the school’s recognition and encouragement of excellent candidates for the Truman’s program.

Among other recognized scholars, fourth-year chemistry concentrator Calderone became one of 11 students in the country to receive an academic scholarship from the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States. Calderone will use the $25,000 award for a year of graduate study in science and technology at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge.

Calderone speculates that he won the award because of his research on molecular recognition, or “how molecules talk to each other”—work done over the past two years with chemistry professor David Lynn. At Churchill, Calderone plans to further explore how molecules recognize one another and use energy to transfer information.

Students recognized by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program receive funds toward the costs of tuition, fees, books, and room and board—up to a maximum of $7,500 for each year for the remainder of their college careers.

Bagby, a third-year biochemistry concentrator, studies protein crystallography in the lab of Phoebe Rice, an assistant professor in biochemistry and molecular biology. She hopes to research signal transduction. “Cells respond to signals, like hormones, from outside of the cell in intricate and elegant ways,” she explains.

In her Goldwater application, Bagby proposed a method for identifying new G proteins. “The method I suggested,” she says, “is probably pretty impractical, but it’s interesting to think about—and parts of it might give rise to some good research.” Bagby competes on the College Bowl team and plays alto saxophone in the Chicago Wind Ensemble.

Gealy, a second-year mathematics concentrator, also received a Goldwater. Last summer, Gealy researched finite fields in linear algebra at the U.S. Department of Defense. This summer, he plans to explore number games, magic squares, and Latin squares while working on point-set topology in Tourier analysis with mathematics professor Paul Sally Jr. Outside of his interests in math, Gealy juggles, reads, plays the violin, and is also on the College Bowl team.

The third Goldwater winner, Tolland, has researched, with David Oxtoby, the dean of physical sciences, the nucleation processes that occur when cells divide. “A. J. is a very creative and original physics student who has already made contributions to two very different fields of physics: high energy and condensed matter physics,” says Oxtoby of the second-year physics concentrator. Tolland also finds time to participate in the Ryerson Astronomical Society and the Gymnastics Club.—J.P.

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