APS Honoree Brandon Turned Named Rhodes Scholar

Bushraa Khatib
APS Physics

When Brandon Turner graduated from high school, his stepfather, Casey, used to jokingly call him a “renaissance man” because of his diverse interests within and outside of academia. He told Turner that the Rhodes scholarship was perfectly suited for such a person.

Now, poised to graduate from Wake Forest University in May with a bachelor’s degree in biophysics and minors in chemistry and sociology, Turner is one of 32 Americans awarded the prestigious Rhodes scholarship for 2012.

Selected from a pool of 830 candidates, scholars anticipate beginning their studies at Oxford in October 2012. The award covers all expenses for two to four years of study. In a press release, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust Elliot Gerson called the Rhodes Scholarships “arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates.”

“When I heard the announcement, I was lost for words,” Turner said. “My stepdad is over the moon about it.”

This isn’t Turner’s first time receiving recognition for academic success. He received the 2010-2011 APS Scholarship for Minority Undergraduate Physics Majors, which provides funding and mentoring to underrepresented minorities pursuing degrees in physics. Past scholars have gone on to earn PhDs in physics, work as university faculty members, research scientists, and high school physics teachers. Turner also attends Wake Forest on a full, merit-based Reynolds scholarship.

Turner hadn’t always planned on majoring in physics. When he was younger, he thought that he would become a biologist. Everything changed when he took and fell in love with AP Physics as a senior in high school. He liked that physics combined mathematical rigor with the ability to explain the world–something that he appreciated and enjoyed about other sciences.

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