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Adam Gronewold and Dr. Cecilia Vogel
Adam Gronewold with his teacher and mentor Dr. Cecilia Vogel, professor of physics

$10,000 physics award accelerates an idea

Last fall, Augustana junior Adam Gronewold and a few of his engineering physics classmates began working on an idea. They think it’s a good one.

This spring, Gronewold was awarded a $10,000 Rossing Physics Scholarship from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Foundation. Among other things, the award means he may have financial backing to claim ownership of the idea, seek a patent and share it with the world.

I’ve been holding off on investing my resources in it just because the money wasn’t there for me to do so,” Gronewold said. “Thanks to the scholarship, I will be seriously approaching the prospect of patenting the idea, but I still want to be smart about it. We’ve been cautious in moving forward, and that won't change, but several professional engineers have demonstrated a strong interest … so we will likely go ahead with further development.”

The Rossing Physics Scholarship goes to exemplary physics students attending one of the 26 ELCA colleges and universities. Gronewold is one of three students nationwide to win the award this year. Before him, the most recent Rossing Physics Scholar from Augustana was Mark Hoffman ’15 in 2014.

All thanks to his professors

Along with engineering physics, Gronewold is majoring in applied math at Augustana. Although his program of study is intensive, he considers it “engaging and thought-provoking.”

“We look at the world differently almost every day, and how cool is that?—just to think that we are learning the skills necessary to make change. Those skills are so broad, we are becoming the type of people who can tackle next to anything. That is what I love about it.”

“I’m stunned every term at how much the people at Augie care.”

As to how he came to win the Rossing award, Gronewold gives all credit to his professors. “I always know they are really looking out for me as a student, and they want my classmates and me to succeed. They care about what they are teaching… but more obvious is the fact that they care about what your life is like and how they can help you be the best person possible. Dr. Dyer, Vogel, Clauss, Van Howe, Frank, Sward, Mueller... all of them, I can’t really thank them enough.

“Even professors and mentors outside of my major. I’m stunned every term at how much the people at Augie care. I’d just like to thank everyone in general for looking out for me and granting me the opportunity to succeed.”

Along with college expenses and the ability to turn a great idea into a patented invention, Gronewold sees the Rossing scholarship helping with his pursuit of graduate schools. “The award will also grant me a bit more attention from programs that are competitive, which is very exciting,” he said. “I’m incredibly grateful for that.” 

The Rossing Physics Scholarship is funded through the Thomas D. Rossing Fund for Physics Education Endowmnent. Thomas D. Rossing, a Luther College alumnus and a professor emeritus of physics at Northern Illinois University, established the scholarship fund in 2005.

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