U-M senior wins prestigious Churchill Scholar award

A U-M neuroscience major is one of 14 Churchill Scholarship winners recently named to study at the University of Cambridge, England.
(Photo courtesy Eszter Zavodszky)

Eszter Zavodszky, who was section leader of the Michigan Marching Band's flag line last season, recently was awarded one of the prestigious scholarships that provides for a year of graduate study in engineering, mathematics, or the sciences at Churchill College.

"I felt disbelief at first, but it was closely followed by excitement that all I've worked for finally is coming to fruition," Zavodszky says.

"Speaking on behalf of the university, I congratulate Eszter on this impressive accomplishment," says Senior Vice Provost Lester Monts. "It is a reminder that Michigan undergraduates have the intelligence and determination to hold their own with the top students in the country.

"I hope Eszter's success serves as inspiration to other undergraduates to set their sights high," Monts continues. "All of us can be proud when members of our community have the confidence to compete for and win prestigious scholarships, such as the Churchill, Rhodes, Marshall, or Mitchell scholarships."

The LSA senior is U-M's 10th Churchill Scholar since the program started in 1959. She will do research in the laboratory of Dr. David Rubensztein in the Department of Medical Genetics to study cellular pathways with relevance to neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Huntington's disease.

Zavodszky, who leaves this autumn for England, is a Hungarian native who was born in Romania. She attended high school in Okemos.

Elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, Zavodszky also is a Goldwater Scholar and has received numerous awards and merit scholarships.

After graduate school, she says, "I would like to stay in academia and become a professor so that I might conduct research and teach at the university level."

"I think researching human disease — both mechanisms and potential therapies — is a very worthwhile pursuit, and I feel that it allows for the potential to positively impact many lives," Zavodszky says.

After fulfilling her one-year Churchill scholarship experience, she will enter a Wellcome Trust doctoral program in the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, for which she also was accepted.

Zavodszky also has performed research projects in Ann Arbor, completing her senior thesis in U-M's neurology department, and has done research in functional magnetic resonance imaging at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and in neuroscience and human performance at the Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany.