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Charles Lewis and Kolby Nottingham Win Annual Phi Kappa Phi Scholarship


The College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences wishes to congratulate Charles Lewis and Kolby Nottingham for their distinctions as the winner and runner-up of the 2019 Phi Kappa Phi College Award.

Every year, the BYU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi honor society sponsors scholarships for its top members in each college. In this year’s round of awards, the College of Science and Math awarded Lewis 600 dollars and Nottingham 300 dollars for their exceptional research experience.

Nottingham, a senior majoring in computer science, has conducted research in physics as well as his home department throughout his undergraduate career. As a physics researcher, Nottingham collaborated with Professor Mark Transtrum to develop a mechanism for predicting the sentiment of a crowd using audio data of fans at BYU sporting events. This year, Nottingham has conducted research on reinforcement learning in computer science and currently has a paper under review for an upcoming conference.

“Sometimes I’m not quite so sure how I stack up. I’m doing my best over here, but I don’t know what other people are doing. It was good to know my work was paying off,” Nottingham said of receiving the scholarship in March.

Lewis is a physics major who has researched quantum dots at BYU, interned at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland,and spent a summer developing an image classification app in Moscow. For him, the award presented an opportunity to celebrate his family’s ties to Phi Kappa Phi.

“My grandpa lives in the city [near BYU], and he’s been a member for 60-ish years,” Lewis explained. “When they had the induction ceremony and recognized the different scholarship holders . . . he came, and they recognized him. That was a great experience,” Lewis said.

Phi Kappa Phi is a national honor society that aspires to recognize outstanding scholarship in all disciplines and encourage its members to engage in service. Since its establishment in 1951, the BYU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi has organized activities and provided scholarships for its members, who are inducted from the top 10 percent of seniors and top 7.5 percent of juniors in their respective colleges.

The application for the 2020 College Award will open early next year and close in February. In mid-January, current Phi Kappa Phi members will be emailed an invitation to apply for the scholarship along with application instructions and deadlines.