November, 2005

Adam Morgan, a senior Penn State Schreyer Honors College scholar, has been selected to receive a highly coveted Marshall Scholarship, which will afford him the opportunity to study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom next year. The Dallas, Pa., native will graduate from Penn State in May with a dual major in astronomy/astrophysics and physics and a minor in mathematics.

While at Cambridge, Morgan plans to pursue a Ph.D. in astrophysics with a focus on cosmology.

The Marshall Scholarship program finances at least 40 select American college students each year to study for any degree in the United Kingdom, usually at the graduate level. Each scholarship is held for two years with the possibility of renewing for a third year.

Finding out that he was among the 40 recipients was a mind-boggling experience for Morgan.

“I got the call letting me know that I had won at the unexpected time of 8 p.m. on Saturday night,” he said. “Needless to say, I was extremely thrilled and taken back upon learning that I had won.”

Since January of 2003, Morgan has worked with the Penn State team assigned to the NASA Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer Mission. The Swift project is an international collaboration to launch a multi-wavelength observatory into orbit in order to study gamma-ray bursts. As the Penn State team’s only undergraduate researcher, Morgan has been involved in both pre- and post-launch activities. A remarkable accomplishment at the undergraduate level, Morgan is listed among the contributors on four scholarly papers that resulted from the Swift project.

While working on his doctoral studies at Cambridge, Morgan will be concentrating his study on cosmic microwave background radiation, with the long-term goal of becoming a professor of astrophysics at a major research university. Morgan hopes his career will allow him to continue to investigate contemporary issues in cosmology and be involved with satellite missions to study the early universe.

At Penn State, Morgan’s largest extracurricular commitment has been his involvement in science outreach. In particular, he has served as secretary, demonstration-development chair and vice president of the Penn State Science Lions, an undergraduate/graduate volunteer outreach organization that travels to K-12 schools to perform science demonstrations.

Additionally, Morgan has been a volunteer for AstroFest, an interactive astronomy showcase held every summer during the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. He also has been a member of the Beaver Stadium Recycling Effort and the Penn State Outing Club, among other activities.

In addition to this current honor, Morgan also has garnered many other awards, including the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation award, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, and the Sylvia Stein Memorial Space Grant Scholarship

“Adam is a very talented young man with extraordinary drive to excel in his career pursuits,” said Tineke Cunning, director of Penn State’s University Fellowship Office. “It’s no wonder the Marshall committee was impressed by his scholarly excellence, obvious passion for learning, and genuine affability.”

The Marshall Scholarships are distinctive among British award programs because they were established by an Act of Parliament in 1953 to strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions. The idea behind the Marshall Scholarship was to build upon the Rhodes Scholarship, which established by a private bequest in 1903. While the Rhodes program was acknowledged to be an outstanding success, it was restricted to one British university and — at the time of the Marshall Scholarship creation – was limited to only male candidates. The Marshall Scholarship distinguished itself by selecting candidates from both genders and who wished to study at any university in the United Kingdom.

The scholarship is open only to United States citizens who, at the time they take up their scholarship, hold a first degree from an accredited four-year college or university in the United States with a minimum GPA of 3.7. The program covers all university fees, cost of living expenses, an annual book grant, a thesis grant, research and daily travel grants, fares to and from the United States and, where applicable, a contribution towards the support of a dependent spouse.

From Penn State Live located at