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Vikram Singh Named UW’s Top Graduating Man

April 29, 2016
head portrait of man
Vikram Singh

Excellence as a University of Wyoming honors student in physics and astronomy, service as a volunteer, and work as a mentor for other international students have resulted in the selection of Vikram Singh, of Bangalore, India, for the 2016 Tobin Memorial Award as UW's outstanding graduating man.

The annual award is based on academic excellence and achievement, service to the university, participation and leadership in the community and campus activities, and citizenship qualities.

Kimberly Sanchez, of Cheyenne, is this year’s Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award recipient as UW's outstanding graduating woman.

Singh says he lives through Mahatma Gandhi’s teaching of, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

“This has been the guiding principle of my life. I came to the United States in spring of 2012 -- a skinny Indian kid with a pocketful of dreams,” he says. “Scholarships at UW enabled me to afford an international education, and college became my laboratory for life. I pursued every opportunity I could find, always prioritizing the learning experience over grades.”

As an international student, Singh wanted to integrate himself and be an active participant on the UW campus. He served as an International Student Association (ISA) representative for the Associated Students of UW (ASUW); helped pass a funding request from the Service, Leadership and Community Engagement office for the “First Year Institute”; and was named an ASUW student-at-large representative, receiving the ASUW Leadership Scholarship. He has been an active member of many recognized student organizations, currently serving as events coordinator for ISA.

Singh also has worked on social justice projects, participating in the SAFE Project to help start the Men’s Action Network. While serving as its vice president, he helped organize the annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” project to help raise awareness on domestic violence and sexual assault issues.

But it is in the classroom where Singh truly has immersed himself at UW.

He received an EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) grant in 2014 and started research with UW Department of Physics and Astronomy Professor Mike Brotherton, studying supermassive black holes. They have since published a paper together and are working on another project this semester. Singh is in Brotherton’s graduate-level cosmology class, and is a collaborator in Brotherton’s research projects involving his specialty, quasars.

“Vikram is a very special student, one that comes along rarely,” Brotherton says. “He is comparable to the best 3-4 students (out of 30-40) I’ve worked closely with over the past two decades.”

His research has allowed Singh to travel extensively in the United States. Last summer, he was an intern at one of the world’s leading astrophysics institutes, JIVE, in the Netherlands. He studied exotic radio galaxies using the world’s largest telescope array, and will be co-author of a paper when the results are published.

“When I was searching for colleges, I didn’t even know that a place called Wyoming existed. Fast forward four years, and it has become my home. I have worked on cutting-edge research, raised awareness on critical issues and engaged in my community, helped fellow international students through tough times, mentored a new generation, and lived my passions to my heart’s content,” he says. “UW endowed me with opportunities to explore the world and empowered me to become the change I wanted to see.”

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