April 9, 2010: Volume 77, Number 22
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Peter Bonventre '11 is Union's latest Goldwater Scholar
For Union’s latest Goldwater Scholar, the best work comes from a group.
Peter Bonventre ’11 is a math and physics major who loves to meet friends in the common areas of the physics department and Bailey Hall late at night. They scribble equations on a white board or chalk board and hash out the results.
“The camaraderie of sharing ideas and working together to solve a common problem has been a foundation of my experience with mathematicians and physicists,” he said. “There is nothing quite like working with your fellow classmates until the small hours of the morning, filling boards with diagrams, equations and potential solutions.
“It is not only the way in which you can attack and dissect these problems … but also the mutual gain for all involved, and the joy and pride of finding the perfect solution to the problem,” he said.
The Goldwater Scholarship, the premiere undergraduate award for students pursuing careers in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering, honors the memory of U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater.
Bonventre is the eighth Union student to win the award since 2002. He will receive $7,500 per year to cover tuition, fees, books, and room and board.
“The Goldwater is a nice recognition for me, the departments and the College,” he said. “And it’s an important credential for further study.”
Bonventre, who took a minor in classics to learn more about the ancient Greek at the foundation of math and science, is active outside the classroom. He is a member of the Ballroom Dancing Club and Rugby Club. He is a classical pianist who has performed a number of recitals. He plays tenor saxophone in the Jazz Ensemble.
He is the co-author, with professor Samuel Amanuel and other students, of a paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry that addresses the question of how physical confinement (to nano scale) and interfaces influence melting and freezing behaviors of molecules. He also has conducted research with professor Michael Vineyard.
Last year, he earned the James Henry Turnbull Prize as the outstanding sophomore in physics. He is a member of Eta Sigma Phi, the national classics honor society. As a member of the College’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students, he has done a number of science outreach programs for local children.
Bonventre is a 2007 graduate of Bethlehem Central High School, with a strong connection to Union. As a high school student, he did research on Union’s particle accelerator with professor Scott LaBrake and Byron Dieterle, professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico.
His father, Vincent M. Bonventre ’70 is a professor at Albany Law School. His mother, Karen Bonner Bonventre, who earned her master of arts in teaching from Union Graduate College in 1999, teaches history at Shenendehowa High School. His brother, Richie Bonventre ’08, is pursuing a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Pennsylvania. His eldest brother, Martin, is a student at Albany Law School.
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