Former Fermilab SULI, Teng students win NSF Fellowships
|Josiah Walton at the bottom of the instrument cage on the Mayall 4 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tuscon, Arizona.
As a child, Josiah Walton loved looking at the universe through an amateur telescope. Now, thanks to an NSF grant and a stint at Fermilab he'll get paid to explore its mysteries using some of the latest technology.
Walton and David Yu, former Fermilab interns, were selected as 2009 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows.
Both students said their exposure to high-energy physics at Fermilab was a key factor in getting the fellowship.
"While I was at Fermilab I did work that made me really want to become a high-energy physicist," Walton said.
The program provides $30,000 toward tuition for three years over a five year period.
Both students gained an understanding of particle physics and the process scientists go through while working at the laboratory.
"I got to work on the forefront of high-energy physics with leaders in their field," Walton said.
Walton worked as a Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Intern with DZero's Surpiya Jain in 2008 to explore new approaches using the Bayesian Neural Network to separate small single top quark signals from large, overlapping backgrounds in order to discover new physics. Jain said Walton was always eager to learn and quick to understand explanations.
Yu, a 2008 Lee Teng Fellow, worked with AD's Tanaji Sen to simulate the fields of a beam of particles in order to study the use of optical diffraction radiation as a diagnostics tool. Sen said Yu was an excellent student.
"My summer at the laboratory helped me define my goals and helped shape my interest in particle physics," Yu said.
Fellows are chosen based on their achievements in science and engineering, and fellows must submit an annual research report to NSF.
"Josiah will definitely do well," Jain said. "He has the perseverance and strength of character to live up to the expectations of the fellowship."
Walton, a University of Arkansas graduate, will study physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Yu, a University of Chicago graduate, will study physics at the University of California-Berkeley.
-- Tia Jones