March 21, 2011

Senior Awarded One of 14 Churchill Scholarships

Stephanie Liscio
Stephen Fleming, on an Engineers without Borders
trip to Cameroon.

Senior Stephen J. Fleming has been awarded a Churchill Scholarship, enabling him to spend a year engaged in research at Churchill College, Cambridge University.

The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States chose Fleming, from Crescent Springs, Ky., as one of 14 students from 103 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the prestigious scholarship this year.

The foundation was founded in 1959 at the recommendation of Sir Winston Churchill, who wished there would always be American graduate students at the college named in his honor.

“It’s great to have a chance to live and work abroad, meet researchers from other parts of the world and learn how they conduct research,” said the 22-year-old Fleming, who will earn a Master of Philosophy degree.

In a new program in medical physics at Cambridge, he will further his research using biological systems as models for nanotechnology that benefits human health.

At Case Western Reserve, Fleming, who is majoring in physics and biochemistry, has been probing how cells in the human defense systems sort out chemical signals and navigate to infection. Fleming is the only investigator who was chosen for the project as a first-year student.

“He had the math and was serious and dynamic,” said Peter Thomas, professor of mathematics and biology, who leads the project.

Fleming is also currently working with Xuan Gao, a professor of physics, developing sensors so small and sensitive they could monitor how well a new drug binds to target molecules.

In addition to research, Fleming has been a leader in the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders. He has helped boost membership and been involved in designing and building water and treatment facilities in rural villages in the Dominican Republic, Thailand and Cameroon.

A top student, Fleming was a finalist for a Gates Foundation scholarship but withdrew when he learned he’d been chosen for the Churchill Scholarship.

Since 1963, the Churchill Foundation has named 452 Churchill Scholars in the biological and physics sciences, engineering, and mathematics. They include scholars, researchers, and teachers in major universities and laboratories, as well as leading figures in finance and industry.

The scholarship covers nearly $50,000 in tuition and fees and costs for housing and travel.

Posted by: Emily Mayock, March 21, 2011 09:09 AM | News Topics: College of Arts and Sciences

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