Physics Major Jimmy Vizzard ’23 Awarded Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Physics Major Jimmy Vizzard ’23 Awarded Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Photo of Jimmy Vizzard ’23

2022 Goldwater Scholar Jimmy Vizzard ’23

The Goldwater Scholarship is the most prestigious national scholarship for undergraduate students conducting STEM research.

This award is not only a testament to Jimmy’s research excellence but also to the amazing infrastructure in support of — and strong culture of — undergraduate research at Fairfield University, as well as the dedication of our Fairfield faculty community

— Mentor and Research Advisor Assistant Professor of Physics Robert Nazarian, PhD

Last month during the concluding ceremony of the annual Innovative Research Symposium, Vice Provost for Scholarly and Inclusive Excellence Jocelyn Boryczka, PhD, recognized Jimmy Vizzard ’23 for his recent achievement of being named a 2022 Goldwater Scholar. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship recognizes top college sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. In his research, Vizzard studied the projected changes in the magnitude and frequency of extreme precipitation over the Northeastern United States through the end of the century using state-of-the-art climate models.

According to Vizzard’s faculty mentor and research advisor, assistant professor of physics Robert Nazarian, PhD, this year the Goldwater scholars pool included 433 academic institutions with more than 5,000 applicants, of whom less than 10 percent were named Goldwater Scholars.

“This award is not only a testament to Jimmy’s research excellence but also to the amazing infrastructure in support of — and strong culture of — undergraduate research at Fairfield University, as well as the dedication of our Fairfield faculty community,” said Dr. Nazarian.

Through his Goldwater-winning research, Vizzard investigated changes in both mean and extreme precipitation using the very high-resolution NA-CORDEX ensemble of climate models. One of the findings Vizzard found interesting is that, while the entire region is projected to experience an increase in extreme precipitation, the increase is projected to be the greatest along the coasts. Of note, Vizzard’s research projects that extreme precipitation will increase by approximately five percent for every degree of warming. With temperatures over Fairfield’s region projected to rise by four to five degrees centigrade through 2100 in the absence of mitigating action, he expects to see significantly more severe rainfall. Jimmy is continuing to work with Dr. Nazarian to study the earth’s climate, but is now turning his attention to the representation of ocean mixing in climate models.

“This research has been particularly impactful for me since I’ve been able to see how the places that I hold dear, like where I go to school and live, will be affected by climate change,” said Vizzard.

Vizzard has received funding through the NASA Space Grant as well as through the Lawrence Family Mentoring Fund and the Mancini Family Fund through Fairfield’s Office of Scholarly Development. In the future, he plans to pursue graduate school and is interested in applying his knowledge of fluid dynamics from this project to medical physics or biophysics.

Tags:  Top Stories,  College of Arts & Sciences

Last modified: 05-06-22 1:28 PM

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