Duke University senior Brandon Levin has been awarded a 2007 Winston Churchill Scholarship to pursue a year of graduate study at Cambridge University in England.
Levin, 22, from Toledo, Ohio, is completing a major in mathematics and a minor in philosophy at Duke. He is the 11th Duke undergraduate since 1990 to receive the honor. The Churchill Scholarship Program enables outstanding American students to conduct graduate studies in engineering, mathematics and the natural and physical sciences at Cambridge's Churchill College. Twelve scholarships are being awarded this year by the Winston Churchill Foundation of New York City.
Levin plans to continue his longtime interest in number theory and earn the equivalent of a master's degree at The Center for Mathematical Sciences, located near Churchill College. Among his achievements at Duke, Levin and two fellow students were among only 11 teams in the world to receive an "outstanding" designation in the 2006 Mathematical Contest in Modeling, a grueling 96-hour event where students must race the clock to solve a problem. His group's challenge was to devise a model outlining the most efficient way for a farmer to irrigate a field using a designated list of equipment.
He also has counseled high school students interested in mathematics at a special summer program at Boston University. And, drawing on years of training in Spanish, he has taught English as a second language to Hispanic adults in Durham. "The reason I chose mathematics is that it asks for a deep, fundamental understanding," Levin said in an interview. "And teaching is a way to take what I know and understand and love and hopefully bring that excitement to other people."
After completing the program at Cambridge, he plans to return to the United States to earn a doctoral degree and then join a university faculty. "I love the atmosphere of a university -- the constant learning and the community of scholarship," he said.