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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 7, 2012

Two UI undergraduate researchers named 2012 Churchill Scholars

Two University of Iowa students, Colorado Reed and Suzanne Carter, have been named 2012 Churchill Scholars.

As senior members of the UI Honors Program, Reed is an applied physics major from Colfax, Iowa, and Carter, who is from St. Paul, Minn., studies mathematics and physics, both in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS).

The Churchill is a highly prestigious award recognizing exceptional students pursuing graduate study in the fields of engineering, mathematics, and the sciences. The scholarship supports one year of graduate study at the University of Cambridge, including tuition, housing, and fees and is estimated to be worth just over $50,000.

Select institutions may nominate only two students per year, with only 14 scholarships awarded nationally each year. The UI's record of success with the Churchill competition includes just two previous scholars. James Ankrum, from the UI College of Engineering, was selected in 2007, and Maria Drout, from physics and astronomy in CLAS, was chosen in 2008. The University of Iowa is the only institution with two scholars in the 2012 cohort.

“Whenever one of our students is recognized at this level of competition, it is clear proof of the extraordinary contribution undergraduates can make to research here at the University of Iowa,” says Art Spisak, director of the UI Honors Program. “Having both nominees receive the award is very rare in the history of the Churchill Scholarship, but Colorado and Suzanne are exceptional students who were able to access the high level of support needed to successfully pursue challenging coursework and research opportunities both on our campus and with external organizations.”

Reed’s work includes the study of exotic forms of matter at both the Tevatron Collider and the Large Hadron Collider and the development of algorithms for gravitational wave detection and to create methods to deal with missing data in astronomical light curves. His senior honors thesis focuses on using machine learning to extract information from textual data. As a sophomore, Reed won the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2010, which recognizes undergraduates with potential for careers in mathematics, science, or engineering research. Reed will pursue a Masters in Information Engineering while at Cambridge before transitioning into a doctoral program in computer science to continue his research in machine learning.

Carter, who was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship in 2011, is conducting research on the Chern-Simons and Yang-Mills field theories. Most recently, she spent the past summer living in Paris, working at the Centre de recherché et de restauration des musées de France, investigating techniques to image frescos covered in plaster. Carter will complete the Master of Advanced Study in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (Part III of the Mathematical Tripos) while at the University of Cambridge and intends to pursue doctoral work in mathematics upon her return to the states.

Carter and Reed developed their applications with support from the Honors Fellowships Director Kelly Thornburg and in collaboration with their community of faculty and research mentors.

For more information about the Churchill Scholarship, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Office of University Communication and Marketing, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500
MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Page, University Creative Services,; Kelly Thornburg, UI Honors Program, 319-335-1874,