University of Wisconsin-Madison senior Joshua Shutter is one of 14 students in the nation in 2014 to receive the Churchill Scholarship for his research in chemistry.
The scholarship funds a year of graduate study at the University of Cambridge, where Shutter said he plans to pursue a Master of Philosophy, which is an advanced postgraduate research degree, in chemistry.
Shutter found out that he received the scholarship while on campus in mid-January.
“I got the phone call in the morning, and I called my parents right away… and then I think I went to lunch,” he laughed. “I was surprised. There was definitely a shock factor that was present.”
Shutter, who classifies himself as a physical chemist, has been involved in research at UW-Madison since his freshman year.
“The field’s known as astrochemistry,” he said. “But we study molecules that are present in space, how they react, their kinetics.”
Two summers ago, Shutter spent 10 weeks working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. At the time, the Curiosity rover was just landing on Mars.
“I thought it was excellent,” Shutter said. “I got to be there with all the NASA scientists and engineers and celebrate with them after this pretty amazing technological feat was accomplished.”
Shutter said he looks forward to not only beginning his program, but also expanding his personal horizons.
“It’s a well-renowned university—great chemistry program there—but it also is, more personally, my first time leaving the U.S.”