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UC San Diego senior named Churchill Scholar for extraordinary undergraduate research
Date:2/20/2009

Vikram Juneja, a UC San Diego senior, has been named the first Churchill Scholar at the university and he will use the $50,000 award to complete a one-year graduate program at Cambridge University, where he will work on a master's thesis on cancer stem cell research.

Juneja, a mechanical engineering major, has maintained a near 4.0 GPA, earning A+ grades in almost half his courses. Last spring when he was about to graduate his academic interests expanded dramatically after completing one biology class. His passion lead him to stay at UC San Diego another year to complete the course work needed for graduate work in the life sciences.

Biology professor Laurie Smith, the UC San Diego representative for the Churchill Scholarship program, nominated Juneja because she was impressed with his achievements and potential. "UC San Diego has its share of truly outstanding students in the sciences and engineering," she said. "In 10 years as a faculty member at UC San Diego I have interacted with scores of extremely bright, accomplished undergraduates in my classes, in research settings and in my role as an academic advisor, but I can honestly say that I have never encountered a student like Juneja before."

Juneja is one of 14 Churchill Scholars selected this year from a pool of 99 applicants from 63 colleges and universities nationwide, the largest applicant pool since the competition began in 1963. Churchill Scholars are chosen for their exceptional academic achievements and demonstrated capacity to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the sciences, engineering or mathematics by pursuing original, creative work at an advanced level. Eight of the 480 former Churchill Scholars have gone on to win Nobel Prizes.

Juneja said he would not have been able to win the scholarship if he hadn't attended UC San Diego, where he was given extraordinary research opportunities. During his fourth year Juneja immersed himself in research at th
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Contact: Christine Clark
ceclark@uscd.edu
858-534-7618
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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