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Audrey Lawton (left) and Zach Meador

Students Earn Prestigious Physics Fellowships

Will conduct research at the Center for Nuclear Femtography.

Above: Audrey Lawton (left) and Zach Meador

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Physics majors Audrey Lawton ‘23 and Zach Meador ‘21 have been awarded fellowships with the Center for Nuclear Femtography. They will conduct research for the center in collaboration with the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab) in Newport News.

Lawton and Meador will each receive a $12,000 stipend and have the opportunity to study alongside scientists working on cutting-edge projects that bring together nuclear physics, particle physics, computational science, mathematics and visualization to conduct three-dimensional imaging of nucleons and nuclei.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Audrey and Zach and is a reflection of their strong work in the classroom and the lab as they have advanced their knowledge,” said Dr. Anton Riedl, chair of the Department of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering. “It is also a reflection of the gifted faculty at Christopher Newport and our emphasis on student-conducted research. Audrey and Zach will have the amazing opportunity to learn from some of the top scientists in the world at JLab.”

Lawton will use the fellowship to study machine-learning algorithms that find and apply patterns in data. “This fellowship worked perfectly in my career and graduate school aspirations, as I wanted to focus on artificial intelligence/machine learning,” Lawton said.

For Meador, an interest in science began at a young age. His father was a NASA physicist. Meador’s desire to study nuclear physics actually flowered more recently when, by happenstance, he met Dr. Andrey Kim, one of JLab’s premier research scientists, at a Yorktown jiu jitsu school: “When it came time to pick a topic for my senior year research project, I asked Dr. Kim for advice and he steered me towards femtography. I am really excited about the fellowship.”

The femtography fellowships are the latest connection between Christopher Newport and JLab. Students and faculty conduct research, often side by side, at the world-renowned facility that is just a few miles from campus.


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