Virginia Tech senior and honors student Brian Skinner, of St. Anthony, Idaho, has been awarded a prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Skinner, who is double majoring in physics and mechanical engineering, will use the $90,000 award to research complex systems and emergent behavior in theoretical physics at the University of Minnesota this fall.
Skinner is one of only 1,000 students nationwide to receive NSF graduate research funding this year, and one of only 46 physics majors nationally to receive the award. Skinner plans to pursue a doctoral degree in hopes of obtaining an academic position as a professor at a research university where he can pursue research and teach physics.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship provides three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees and is intended for students who are at the early stages of their graduate study. Its purpose is to help maintain a large and diverse base of researchers and educators in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the United States.
Skinner received a Barry M. Goldwater scholarship last year and was a finalist in the elite international Rhodes Scholarship competition.
The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biology, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college is dedicated to fostering a research intensive environment and offers programs in many cutting edge areas, including those in nanotechnology, biological sciences, information theory and science, and supports the university’s research initiatives through the Institute for Critical Technologies and Applied Sciences, and the Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences. The College of Science also houses programs in intellectual property law and pre-medicine.