WFU Students Win National Science Foundation Awards

Two Wake Forest University seniors have won $73,500 awards from the National Science Foundation for graduate studies.

Andrew Frey, a physics major, and Shannon Poe-Kennedy, an anthropology and politics major, are both from Winston-Salem. They are among 766 students nationwide winning the NSF’s prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships. The fellowships are competitive awards designed to support the nation’s most promising young scientists.

Poe-Kennedy was also one of 97 winners of the 1998 Andrew M. Mellon Fellowships in Humanistic Studies announced recently by The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The fellowships provide the financial support for the first year of study in a doctoral program at any Canadian or American graduate school and a stipend of $14,000 plus tuition and mandated fees.

She declined the Mellon award to accept the NSF fellowship.

Frey will use the award to study theoretical particle physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara; Poe-Kennedy will continue her anthropology studies at Cornell University.

Both Frey and Poe-Kennedy are the children of Wake Forest faculty. Frey is the son of Linda and Donald E. Frey, a Wake Forest economics professor. Poe-Kennedy is the daughter of Patricia Poe and Charles H. Kennedy, a Wake Forest politics professor. A 1994 graduate of the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics, Frey was part of a team of three Wake Forest University students who won the 12th annual Mathematical Contest in Modeling in 1996. Working virtually non-stop for four days, the students developed a mathematical description of the change in the surrounding noise field created by a silent submarine entering a region. Using the description, they determined the submarine’s speed, size, location and direction. The contest drew entries from 393 teams representing 235 schools in nine countries.

Frey’s work in physics also included a 10-week internship at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

He is a Reynolds Scholar at the university, a member of its College Bowl team, president of the Huffman Residence Hall council and an editorial board member of The Philomathesian, a student literary journal.

Poe-Kennedy, who attended Salem Academy, is a curator at the Wake Forest University Museum of Anthropology and student editor of the museum’s newsletter. A Carswell Scholar, she also is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national politics honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, the national honor society, and a member of the steering committee of the Women’s Issues Network.

While at Wake Forest, Poe-Kennedy has spent two summers at the university’s Overseas Research Center on Roatan Island, Honduras, including directing and filming a documentary about island culture.

In 1996, she was part of a six-student delegation from Wake Forest that traveled to Bangladesh to meet with government officials in a trip sponsored by the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies.

Categories: Recognition, Student