Byung Wook “Daniel” Choe ’16 received a 2013-2014 Korean Ancestry Grant Fellowship from the William Orr Dingwall Foundation that is supporting his studies as a physics major at HWS over the course of his time at the Colleges. Choe, of Seoul, South Korea, was selected from among participants from colleges and universities including Harvard, Yale, Princeton and University of Pennsylvania.
“The Korean Ancestry Grant will provide me a life altering opportunity to pursue my passion for physics,” Choe said. The grant provides a stipend of $12,000 per year as long as he maintains a GPA of 3.5 or above. “I was worried about the competition for the fellowship, but with help from the faculty and the deans I was accepted,” he said. “I remind myself how much of a quality education I am getting here at HWS.”
Choe is a participant in the 3-2 engineering joint degree program between HWS and Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, with an intent to focus on energy engineering. Typically in this program, a student spends the first two years at the Colleges, the third year at Dartmouth, the senior year in Geneva, followed by the fifth and final year at Dartmouth. Upon completion, Choe will receive two degrees, one from Hobart and one from Dartmouth.
Previously, he was a research assistant for Assistant Professor of Physics Ileana Dumitriu working on two main projects. The first project is working on laser holography by means of reflection. By doing so, a three-dimensional replication of an object on photographic plate will be created.
The second project entails helping Dumitriu with research for her article, “Inner-shell photodetachment of transition metal negative ions.” This research focuses on interaction of negative ions with X-rays. Data was collected at Lawrence National Berkeley Lab in California, and now they are working on designing and writing codes to an Interactive Data Language interface to analyze the data.
“I enjoy Daniel’s time in my research lab as he is enthusiastic, curious and motivated. He loves physics and he took upper-level physics courses in his first year. Daniel is able to work independently and report his findings in a way that attracts the listener’s interest. He has exemplary presentation skills as noted when he talked about ‘Physics of Football’ at the 2013 Albert Holland Physics Lecture. As Daniel is a sophomore now, we see that he has a great potential to succeed in any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) career,” Dumitriu said.
Choe also participated in the physics department’s 2013 Albert Holland Physics Lecture, a science-focused competition that invites HWS students to conduct a 15-minute lecture in which some significant principle or application of physics is derived and explained.
The Korean Ancestry Grant Fellowship was created in 1994 by Dr. William Orr Dingwall, a professor at the University of Maryland and a widely-published scholar and researcher in the area of the effects of brain physiology on speech and language. Dingwall cared for the welfare of new immigrants to the United States, especially those who wanted to pursue higher education. The foundation that he created has supported many students in their pursuit of undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in a variety of fields.
Aside from the financial and academic benefit the fellowship provides, the fellowship is significant for Choe.
“This fellowship means a lot to me as my great grandfather, Choe Nam Seon, is one of the founding fathers of modern Korea, and was a poet and social activist whom drafted the declaration of independence for Korea,” he said. “I am excited to do something great and follow my ancestor’s legacy.”