Penn senior Kevin Chen awarded Churchill scholarship

University of Pennsylvania senior Kevin Chen of Fremont, Calif., has been selected for a Churchill Scholarship from the Winston Churchill Foundation, which will allow him to study abroad for a year at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Awarded annually to American students with a grade point average of 3.7 or higher, the scholarship funds a year of master’s study in science, mathematics and engineering at Cambridge’s Churchill College.

Chen will graduate from Penn in May with a bachelor’s degree in physics, biophysics and biochemistry along with a master’s in physics from the School of Arts and Sciences. He will pursue an MPhil in chemistry in David Klenerman’s laboratory at Cambridge.​​​​​​​A Vagelos Scholar and Goldwater Scholar, Chen has been working in Yale E. Goldman's lab in the Department of Physiology in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine since 2015. He developed optical devices for sensing single molecules in biochemical reactions and used the technique to study the mechanisms of drugs that treat genetic disease.

A resident advisor in New College House, Chen organizes student events and actively embraces Penn’s commitment to community engagement.

Through Moelis Access Science, a program based at the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, he teaches physics through experiments at West Philadelphia High School. As part of a College House Research Fellowship, Chen launched a partnership with West Catholic High School to develop weekly physics experiments. He also coordinates services for the United Community Clinic, a free, student-run medical clinic in West Philadelphia.

In addition, Chen is a member of Penn Lions, a Chinese lion dance troupe.

He was awarded the scholarship with the assistance of Penn’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

The scholarship was established the request of Winston Churchill in order to fulfill his vision of United States-United Kingdom scientific exchange with the goal of advancing science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic. This year, 15 students were awarded Churchill Scholarships.

More information about the Churchill Scholarship is available at

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