Editor's note: This story was updated in April 2020 to reflect a nominee's name change.
LAWRENCE — Two students at the University of Kansas are nominees for the Winston Churchill Scholarship, which provides one year of study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Myra Dotzel, senior in computer science and mathematics, and Catherine Johnston, senior in physics and mathematics, are competing for the award after being nominated by a committee organized by the Office of Fellowships.
The Winston Churchill Foundation annually awards scholarships in honor of Sir Winston Churchill. Up to 15 scholarships will be awarded in this year’s national competition.
KU is the only institution in Kansas on the approved list of colleges and universities in the U.S. that may nominate students for the award. Each participant university may nominate only two candidates for the scholarship. The award gives winners the opportunity to pursue study in fields in the sciences, engineering or mathematics at Cambridge. The award will lead to a Master of Philosophy or a Master of Advanced Study.
Finalists will be selected and interviewed in December and the scholars announced shortly thereafter.
Former KU student Larissa Lee won a Churchill Scholarship in 1999.
Myra Dotzel, from Chesterfield, Missouri, is the daughter of Ronald Dotzel and Qiang Dotzel and a graduate of Parkway Central High School. Dotzel is double majoring in computer science and mathematics with a minor in visual arts. She conducts research in the lab of Suzanne Shontz, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, developing a framework for high-order meshing to be used in improving methods of imaging the human heart. She is a member of the University Honors Program and served as an honors seminar assistant. Dotzel has worked as an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow for programming classes. Dotzel has presented research at several conferences, including the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics’ Conference on Computational Science and Engineering 2019 and the 28th International Meshing Roundtable, a premier conference on mesh generation. In summer 2019, Dotzel completed an internship with Garmin international. In summer 2020, Dotzel completed an online National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program in software engineering through Carnegie Mellon University.
Catherine Johnston, from Overland Park, is a graduate of Blue Valley High School. Johnston’s parents are Mark Johnston and Lisa Johnston. Johnston is double majoring in mathematics and physics with a minor in economics. Johnston has done extensive research with Dionyssis Mantzavinos, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics, focusing on complex analysis and partial differential equations. A Chancellor’s Club Scholar and a member of the University Honors Program, Johnston was selected as a sophomore for the University Scholars Program. Johnston has received awards from the KU Engineering Undergraduate Research Showcase and KU's departments of Economics, Mathematics and Physics. With the KU Math Club, Johnston participated in yearly Putnam exams and twice placed first in the Kansas Collegiate Mathematics Competition. Johnston has worked for the Kansas Algebra Program for several years and this summer served as a counselor for the Ross Mathematics Program.