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January 28, 2016
Sammy Shaker, a UHP senior studying Chemistry and Mathematics, has been named a Churchill Scholar by the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States. Shaker will spend the 2016-17 academic year at Churchill College of Cambridge University, where he will complete an M.Phil. in Materials Science.
At Cambridge, Shaker plans to work with Professor Anthony Cheetham—a world leader in the development of hybrid metal-organic materials—to attempt to determine the effect of temperature on the structure of metal-organic frameworks. "Little is known concerning the effect of deformations such as temperature changes on the properties of these materials," Shaker explained, "including characteristics such as pore volume, metal site surface area, crystallinity, and electronic structure."
Shaker began working with chemistry professor Andreas Stein early in his undergraduate career here at the University of Minnesota, and this relationship has seen him through four years of advanced research projects synthesizing porous and nanostructured materials. "Sammy is an extraordinarily gifted student of the type whom I have met only once or twice in my career," notes Dr. Stein.
"Opportunities here at the University have been wide-ranging. I've pursued projects in materials chemistry, biomaterials, and error-correcting code theory—all of which has prepared me to think critically on the work at hand from a variety of different perspectives. My work under Dr. Stein this past year has been pivotal to my growing interest in metal-organic frameworks."
Mr. Shaker has previously been awarded a Bentson Scholarship by the University of Minnesota and has won national recognition as a Goldwater Scholar and an Astronaut Scholar. On campus he has been a leader in the Muslim Student Organization and the Al-Madinah Cultural Center. In the Twin Cities community he has worked as a research associate in the Emergency department of Hennepin County Medical Center, and he has initiated a kidney disease screening and awareness program that works with underserved populations in Minnesota.
The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States was founded in 1959 to offer American students of exceptional ability and achievement in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics the opportunity to pursue graduate studies at Cambridge. Fifteen seniors from the top colleges and research universities in the United States are selected as Churchill Scholars each year, making the award—worth about $60,000—one of the most selective and prestigious post-graduate scholarships. Six graduates of the University of Minnesota have previously been named Churchill Scholars, including Maxwell Shinn in 2015.