December 13, 2012

UT senior wins Marshall Scholarship



I’m constantly reminded of the high caliber of student UT attracts. This week, the reminder came in the announcement that our physics and mathematics senior William Berdanier has been selected as a Marshall Scholar for 2013. William will graduate from UT in May and is one of 34 scholars from across the nation awarded the scholarship, which covers all expenses for at least two years at any university in the United Kingdom. Making the most of the offer, he plans to earn two master’s degrees at Cambridge University through the scholarship before returning to the United States to earn a doctorate in physics.

Founded by a 1953 Act of Parliament and named in honor of U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the scholarships commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan and express the continuing gratitude of the British people to their American counterparts.

A Boulder native, William intends to earn a legendary Cambridge degree known as “Part III of the Mathematical Tripos,” which covers advanced topics in pure and applied mathematics. His second master’s will be in theoretical physics, the area in which he has distinguished himself as an undergraduate. His primary research focus has been in the area of condensed-matter physics.

In the lab of physics professor Gennady Shvets, William has been part of a team working on particle accelerator technologies that someday might help make compact accelerators for a variety of applications such as medical therapy and homeland security.

If all this weren’t enough, William is an accomplished violinist, an Eagle Scout, and a certified Master Scuba Diver. He’s the winner of numerous scholarships, including the Goldwater Scholarship, and has been a teaching assistant in the research methods course taught to first-year natural science students. He also is a member of the Dean’s Scholars Council, where he has been in charge of a high school tutoring program and the Distinguished Lecture Series.

Congratulations, William! You’ve made us proud.

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