Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, February 3, 2011

U-M senior receives Winston Churchill Scholarship

David Montague, a Brighton senior, is U-M's most recent recipient of the prestigious Winston Churchill Scholarship, which funds a year of graduate study in mathematics, biological and physical sciences, and engineering at the University of Cambridge.

  David Montague

Click here for a list of prestigious scholarships and U-M contact information through the Provost's Council on Student Honors.

Montague is a mathematics major who will enroll in the competitive program known as Part III of the Math Tripos, a taught master's degree that provides in-depth exposure to a wide variety of fields in both pure and applied mathematics.

"I speak for all of us in the Provost's Office in congratulating David Montague on his many achievements," says Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs and senior counselor to the president for the arts, diversity and undergraduate affairs. "It is extremely gratifying that the Churchill organization has provided this recognition, and I know David will represent us well as he pursues his passion for mathematics at Cambridge.

"We often speak about the 'broad and deep' opportunities Michigan offers. David's educational journey from engineering to mathematics while also exploring Asian languages is a fine example of making the most of one's undergraduate years. I hope his success encourages more of our undergraduates to aim for Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell and Churchill scholarships."

The Churchill Scholarship is one of the most prestigious and academically competitive opportunities of its kind. There are only 14 scholarships awarded each year nationwide among applicants from 103 American colleges and universities. Montague is U-M's 11th Churchill Scholar since the program was begun in 1959 at the recommendation of Sir Winston Churchill, who wished there always be graduate students from the United States attending the college that bears his name.

Montague began his U-M career in the College of Engineering, but exposure to proof-based mathematics during a summer research program sponsored by the National Science Foundation changed his course. The summer program gave him the same sense of pleasure that he had found in puzzle games as a child and he began to view math not just as a tool to unravel some of the mysteries of science, but as an end in itself.

After a year, he transferred to LSA to devote himself to the study of mathematics. One of the realities of his move to LSA was the requirement that he reach second-year proficiency in a second language. Because it sounded interesting to him, Montague opted to study Japanese and became interested enough that he spent the summer of 2010 studying at Kyushu University. He currently is enrolled in third-year Japanese and first-year Chinese.

After his year at Cambridge and the completion of a doctorate in mathematics, Montague says he sees himself in the role of professor, continuing to untangle the interesting problems posed in analytic and algebraic number theory, passing on his love and excitement about mathematics to the next generation, and enjoying his hobbies of table tennis and puzzle-solving. He also plans to spend time in the Far East and to expand his international adventures to other parts of the world.