Students at the U are on a roll. For each of the last five years, one undergrad has been chosen to receive a coveted spot as a Churchill Scholar at the University of Cambridge in England. This year, Isaac Martin, a senior honors student majoring in mathematics and physics, brings the U’s consecutive total to six—tying Harvard’s streak set from 1987-1992.
The U’s record is second only to Princeton’s seven-year streak from 1994-2000. For 2021-22, Martin is one of just 17 students nationally to receive the award. “I would not be where I am today without the incredible faculty at Utah and their willingness to devote time to undergraduates,” Martin says.
The back-to-back run of Churchill Scholars at the U demonstrates the exceptional undergraduate research and mentorship experiences available. While at the U, Martin, a recipient of an Eccles Scholarship and a 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholarship, worked with professors to study F-singularities and developed this work into a single-author paper. “That sensation of understanding, the feeling that some tiny secret of the universe was suddenly laid bare before me—that’s something I’ve only felt while studying math and physics, and it’s a high I will continue to chase for the rest of my life,” Martin says.
The Churchill Scholarship, established in 1963 at the request of Winston Churchill, provides undergraduates in STEM fields a one-year master’s program at Cambridge. Students go through a rigorous endorsement process in order to apply, but only after their home institution has been vetted with the Churchill Foundation. The U was added to the foundation in 2014.