Physics students

Support for the scholarship named for legendary taskmaster Don Chodrow will enable the physics department to become the premier undergraduate program in the nation.

It’s already respected as one of the largest and best — for the quality of its academics and for its vast and deeply engaged program of physics outreach and education for K-12.

The Don Chodrow Memorial Scholarship Endowment is intended to promote upperclassmen in physics and keep them moving forward toward careers in physics. “It’s an important tool to keep the best students on track and moving along,” says physics department head Steve Whisnant.

Chodrow was a central and important figure in the physics department for many years. All JMU physics majors had the professor for one or more upper-level courses, including a critical junior course in classical mechanics. “Majors considered the course a badge of honor to get through and came out on the other side able to call themselves physicists,” Whisnant says. “He was tough taskmaster who made students learn. And they appreciated it.”

Ruth Chodrow, who established the scholarship, hopes that the physics alumni her husband put through their paces will help grow the scholarship so it can support additional upperclassmen who have earned the right to be called physicists.

These students will study with Chodrow’s world-class colleagues in the physics department. They will participate in research in materials science, nuclear/particle physics, soft condensed matter, and astronomy and astrophysics and present their findings at national professional conferences. Your gift will also give those students access to sophisticated instrumentation usually reserved for graduate students at most universities. Not least, these students will also have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in one of the most extraordinary physics outreach programs in the nation. Read more here. And they will get the strong liberal arts foundation that will provide societal context for the decisions they will be making as future science leaders.

“Growing the endowment will elevate the entire JMU physics program,” Whisnant explains. “These Chodrow Scholarship recipients will go on to lead successful careers in physics addressing issues for the betterment of all of society.”

Together, by combining our vision and talents, we can give students the early start that qualifies them ahead of the research curve to enter graduate school, research labs, the teaching profession, the workforce or anywhere else they seek to go to boost America's culture of innovation and discovery.

That’s how the national model of the Engaged University operates. Your gift makes it possible.

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