“Growing up female and lower working class, I was never encouraged to pursue physics, math, or computer science. This all changed when I came to Chapman University. Our faculty recognized and fostered my talents, so in turn I now pay their support forward.”
At the end of year academic year, Dean of Students Jerry Price, Ph.D., and his office celebrate remarkable achievements among the Chapman University undergraduate student body at the Campus Leadership Awards. This year senior Taylor Lee Patti, triple physics, math and Spanish major with a chemistry minor, won the prestigious Cecil F. Cheverton Award, the highest student honor at Chapman University.
Students are not nominated for the Cheverton Award; they are invited to apply by the faculty based on their outstanding academic record. Then they are voted on by Chapman faculty. It is not hard to see why Patti was invited and become the Faculty’s top choice.
During her time at Chapman, Patti was invited to be a guest researcher and lecturer at the Perimeter Institute, and she presented a research talk at the American Physical Society March Meeting. Both of these are invitations typically reserved for Ph.D. students.
She has 2 peer-reviewed journal publications: one in the field of biochemistry and food science in collaboration with Prof. Rosalee Hellberg and the other in quantum foundations with President’s National Medal of Science recipient Prof. Yakir Aharonov. She is currently working on a third publication related to her research at the Perimeter Institute.
Originally, from Medford, Oregon, Patti is a presidential scholar, member of the Schmid Student Leadership Council, and External Vice President of Chapman’s Women in Science and Technology student organization. She is currently spearheading STEM outreach to underprivileged youth, holding workshops, and creating speaker events for women leaders in STEM fields.
In her Cheverton application essay, Patti wrote: “Growing up female and lower working class, I was never encouraged to pursue physics, math, or computer science. This all changed when I came to Chapman University. Our faculty recognized and fostered my talents, so in turn I now pay their support forward.”
Patti has declined offers from Ph.D. programs at Yale and Berkeley. Instead, she will enter the Ph.D. program in theoretical physics this summer at Harvard University with a Graduate Fellowship awarded by the National Science Foundation.
The Cheverton Award is given annually to the outstanding graduating senior and is the highest student honor at Chapman University. A gift of the class of 1929, the original bronze Cheverton Award cup remains on exhibit in Argyros Forum along with its successor, a silver bowl. Upon the trophies are engraved the names of all Cheverton awardees since 1929.
Faculty identified six Cheverton finalists, senior biological sciences major Caroline Aziz, senior computer science major and math minor Jordan Ott among them.