Churchill ScholarRebecca Krall — a physics major at Carnegie Mellon University — has been selected for the prestigious Churchill Scholarship. She's just one of 14 students selected from the United States.
And she's the third Churchill Scholar from CMU in the last four years.
The Churchill Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards for studying abroad in the United Kingdom. Scholars are awarded with funding for a year of postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge in England.
Krall graduates from CMU this spring. She'll use the award to pursue a Master of Advanced Study in Experimental and Theoretical Physics.
The program combines both courses and research.
Krall hopes to work with a research group that is involved with the ATLAS experiment at CERN. CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
"This is a great opportunity to learn more about high-energy physics," said Krall, a native of Kissimmee, Fla. "I really enjoy physics because it's so exciting to discover something new."
She added, "The ATLAS group is looking for the Higgs boson, which has been predicted but never found. So that's something that I'm interested in being a part of."
Krall's interest in high-energy physics was sparked during her junior year, when she began conducting research with physics Professor Roy Briere.
"In a research field where it is often difficult for students to get their bearings, Rebecca quickly learned how to make independent progress," said Briere. "It's a pleasure to work with someone who helps me figure things out."
In addition to the research she has conducted at CMU, Krall participated in a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in astronomy at UCLA.
While there, she developed a computer program to determine whether another star is a part of what was thought to be a two-star system.
Her enthusiasm for physics extends beyond the laboratory. For six semesters, Krall has been a teaching assistant in the Physics Department. She's also a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Sigma Xi Honor Society.
"Rebecca has shown a great deal of initiative and commitment to her discipline, which made her a strong fit for the prestigious Churchill Scholarship," said Stephanie Wallach, assistant vice provost for undergraduate education and director of the Fellowships and Scholarships Office.
"Her quiet confidence and drive will serve her well in Cambridge and we look forward to hearing more about her accomplishments in the future."