Angstadt '14 Receives Prestigious Jefferson Fellowship

A St. Lawrence University student graduating on May 18 who is triple majoring in computer science, mathematics, and German studies has been awarded a highly selective graduate fellowship to help support his doctoral studies.

Kevin Angstadt '14 of Latham, N.Y. was selected this year as one of only 17 recipients of the Jefferson Fellowship, a nationally recognized merit graduate fellowship at the University of Virginia. Selected by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at the University of Virginia, Kevin will begin his studies in the fall at U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Science as a doctoral student in computer science.

Jefferson Fellows undergo a rigorous selection process. First, they must apply for admission to U.Va. and be accepted by the department to which they apply. Nominations are then submitted to the Jefferson Scholars Foundation by academic department chairs. Once nominated, candidates are invited to come to Charlottesville, Virginia, to participate in the Jefferson Fellows Selection Weekend.

“I actually got my nomination letter for the fellowship before I received my acceptance letter to U.Va.,” Kevin said. “My dad did his post-doc there in the '80s, so it was a school that I was interested in attending. When I went down for my interview, I got to spend some time with the computer science department. It was similar to the computer science department at St. Lawrence, and there seem to be lots of opportunities for research. That's what helped me make the decision to accept.”

During his undergraduate career, Kevin studied abroad in Giessen, Germany, in the spring 2013 semester and was a St. Lawrence University Fellow in 2012, conducting research with Edwin Harcourt, associate professor of mathematics, developing companion software for a statistics book written by Patti and Robin Lock, professors of mathematics. Kevin was also was recognized as an Outstanding Student in his first, second and third years at St. Lawrence, was the recipient of the Pi Mu Epsilon Award given to an outstanding underclass student based on performance in math courses through the sophomore level, and even completed a minor in music.

Kevin will join a community of 53 other Jefferson Fellows this fall and, in addition to receiving the full cost of attending U.Va., will be given space to work and conduct research at the Jefferson Fellows Center.

“Receiving a nomination for a Jefferson Fellowship is a significant honor, affirming and recognizing exceptional talent and potential in a particular field,” said William Wilson, the foundation’s director of the graduate program. “We look forward to welcoming Kevin to this dynamic academic community and are eager to see the mark he makes not only on the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, but also on the University.”

For Kevin, there's a common thread that seems to run through all of his academic pursuits, whether that's computer science, teaching German or playing in a jazz ensemble.

“I took an early music course while I was in Germany, and I learned that music was once a branch of mathematics until the late Renaissance,” he said. I've always been interested in the linguistic aspect of teaching a language, and that could be teaching German or music or a computer software. It's all inter-related.”

Kevin says he eventually wants to teach at a small, liberal arts college like St. Lawrence.

“Some of it comes because my dad is a professor at Siena College,” he said. “But I really enjoy the pedagogy of teaching. I was a (teaching assistant) for some German classes, and the experience helped solidify that I want to teach. I also like the opportunities for conducting research with students. That's something that I think is unique to small colleges like St. Lawrence.”