The Roy and Diana Vagelos Challenge Awards


To reward the very best, motivated and advanced science students, and challenge them to get the most from themselves and Penn. The Award will pay the tuition and general fees in the third and/or fourth years, INDEPENDENT of financial need. Up to five new Awards will be made each year.

Selection Criteria

The College student who submatriculates in the Physics or Chemistry graduate groups will be eligible for the Award when he/she completes or satisfies 13 credit units (about 70%) of the required mathematics and science courses (including advanced placement credit) for the Physics, Chemistry, Biophysics or Biochemistry majors. In addition, science and mathematics grades must be in the upper 25% of the College grade point average distribution (about 3.7 out of 4.0).

The Award Committee consists of Graduate Group chairs of Physics and Chemistry with the Undergraduate Chairs of Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics, all members of the standing faculty.

At the end of four years at Penn, the student will earn a B.A. and a M.S. Alternatively, the student may continue with research directly towards a Ph.D. in Physics or Chemistry at Penn. In either case, a B.A. is awarded only if the language and distributional requirements are satisfied.


It is expected that recipients will pursue careers in science and technology including medicine. Two years of tuition and fees will total about $107,000 for 2017-2019.

The typical student (between 10 and 20 any given year) in the submatriculation program will qualify during the third academic year. A significant number of the students can qualify after the second year.

Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Challenge Awardees, Graduation Year, Major(s) and Graduate School

2017 Awardees

Angus Beane, '19, Mathematics and Physics
Hope E. Merens, '18, Biochemistry and Biology
Tong Tian Liu, '19, Biochemistry, Computer Science, and Physics
Tiberiu Mihaila, '19, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Physics
Jimin Yoon, '18, Biophysics and Chemistry

2016 Awardees

Kevin Y. Chen, '18, Physics, Biophysics, Biochemistry
Jordan Doman, '17, Biochemistry
Congzhou Mike Sha, '18, Physics, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science (SEAS)
Jonathan Zauberman, '18, Physics, Biophysics, Biochemistry

2015 Awardees

Samuel J. Allon, '16, Biochemistry; MIT PhD Chemistry
Karanbir S. Pahil, '16, Biochemistry and Chemistry; Harvard PhD Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Elizabeth J. Dresselhaus, '17, Physics and Electrical Engineering (SEAS)
Alex Y. Liao, '17, Physics and Computer Science in SEAS
Ashley N. Sartoris, '17, Biochemistry and Physics
Chunzi Song, '17, Biochemistry and Biophysics

2014 Awardees

Vinicius T. Ferreira, '15, Chemistry; Cambridge UK, then Caltech PhD
Xingting Gong, '15, Physics; Stanford Applied Physics PhD
Seth C. Koren, '15, Physics; UC Santa Barbara PhD Physics
Noah A. Rubin, '15, Physics; Harvard PhD Physics
Allison P. Siegenfeld, '15, Biochemistry and Biophysics, Harvard PhD Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Stefan R. Torborg, '16, Biochemistry, Biophysics and Physics, Tri-Institutional NY MD/PhD

2013 Awardees

Paul J. Blazek, '14, Biochemistry, Biophysics; UT Southwestern MD/PhD
Michael A. Boreen, '15, Biochemistry, Chemistry; UC Berkeley Chemistry PhD
Dahlia R. Klein, '15, Biophysics, Chemistry, Physics; MIT PhD Physics
Kevin Lou, '14, Biochemistry, Chemistry; UCSF, MD/PhD
Julia Steinberg, '14, Physics; Harvard, Physics PhD

2012 Awardees

Colin Fadzen, '13, Biochemistry, Physics; Harvard HST, MD/PhD
Martin J. Falk, '14, Mathematics, Physics; MIT, Physics PhD
Sarah K. Foster, '14, Biochemistry, Physics; Cambridge UK, Physics PhD
Thomas J. Krane, '13, Physics; Insight Venture Partners, NYC
Samuel M. Levi, '14, Chemistry; Harvard, Chemistry PhD
Anshuman S. Pal, '13, Physics; École Normale Supérieure, Paris, Theoretical Physics MS

2011 Awardees

Ioana Aron, '12, Chemistry; MIT, Chemistry PhD
Nabil Darwich, '13, Biochemistry; Penn, MD/PhD
Adam Haque, '12, Math, Physics; UCLA, Mathematics PhD
Alexander Sun, '12, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology; UCLA/Caltech, MD/PhD
Hejia Wang, '13, Biochemistry, Physics; Penn, MD/PhD
Tian Yang, '12, Biochemistry; Wisconsin, Chemistry PhD

2010 Awardees

David Lee, ’12, Biochemistry, Physics; Harvard, Chemistry PhD
Steven Plimpton, ’11, Physics; U. Colorado, Denver, Applied Physics PhD
Ashley Reichardt, ’12, Physics; U.C. Berkeley, Nuclear Engineering PhD

2009 Awardees

Kevin C. Axelrod ‘11, Biochemistry, Physics; Harvard, Biophysics PhD
Edward F. Kreider, ’10, Biochemistry; Penn, MD/PhD
Aaron M. Levy, ’11, Physics; Cambridge, UK, Mathematics Tripos; Princeton, Physics; PhD

2008 Awardees

Jarad Mason, '09, Chemistry; U.C. Berkeley, Chemistry PhD
Phillip Benedetti, '10, Biochemistry, Chemistry; U. Cambridge, UK, Chemistry PhD
Matthew Berck, '10, Biochemistry, Physics; Harvard, Physics PhD

2007 Awardees

Chenghong Huang, '09, Biochemistry, Chemistry; Harvard, Chemistry PhD
Benjamin Stinson, '09, Biochemistry; MIT, Biology PhD
Lauren Wozniak, '08, Physics, Mathematics, Philosophy; UCLA, Physics PhD

2006 Awardees

Sujit Datta, '08, Physics; Harvard, Physics PhD
Steven Hershman, '08, Biochemistry; Harvard, Systems Biology PhD
Tara Kaufmann, '07, Biochemistry; UCSF, MD/PhD

2005 Awardees

Jason Beiger, '06, Chemistry, Biochemistry; Harvard, Chemistry PhD
Lauren Zeitels, '06, Biochemistry; Gates Scholar Cambridge UK; Johns Hopkins, MD/PhD
Elisabetta Matsumoto, '07, Physics; Penn, Physics PhD
Adam Roth, '07, Physics; Penn, Physics PhD