A&S Class of ’24: Fulbright Scholarship Offers Alex Rosenthal a View of the Cosmos from Down Under

Alex Rosenthal

This spring Echols scholar Alex Rosenthal will earn a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy-Physics, an interdepartmental degree that prepares students for graduate studies in either field.  After graduation, she intends to pursue a career in astrophysics.  She is considering a variety of offers from astrophysics Ph.D. programs, but she recently learned that she was chosen to be a Fulbright scholar and will work with researchers at the Swinburne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

An Alabama native, Rosenthal knew she wanted to step out of her comfort zone and expand her horizons at a university far from home, one with a strong and established program in astrophysics.  After taking a tour of Grounds, she knew UVA was where she wanted to be.

Once she arrived in Charlottesville, her horizons have continued to expand.  Her mentors encouraged her to pursue research-oriented internships, and as a result, she spent two summers doing research in Arizona and Wyoming and has explored six different sub-fields of her discipline.  She’s also had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain, where the culture shock she encountered there, she felt, was “a fantastic experience.”  She’s also been involved in competitive skiing for UVA, and she’s had the chance to play collegiate Quidditch.  She’s been a mentor to younger students and has served as the treasurer for the University’s Women in Physics club where she’s helped support efforts to bring diversity to the STEM fields.  She’s also been involved with the Graduate/Undergraduate Astronomy Council, helping to mentor younger students and represent their interests. 

Rosenthal also recently won the Chambliss award for presenting exemplary research at the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society, and she was the co-winner of her department’s Timothy P. McCullough Scholarship award, which goes to the best rising third-year student in her discipline.

But research and academics have only been part of the story for Alex.

“When I’m not actively involved in those things, you can find me actively involved in the outdoors in any way, shape or form,” Rosenthal said.  

She grew up on the beaches and near the Mobile Bay Delta of Alabama, but the Charlottesville area has opened up new landscapes to her, 

“The mountains, and the woods and the geography of Virginia foster communities of so many people who love to engage with them,” Rosenthal said.  “It’s been great getting involved with that.” 

“The highlight of my UVA experience is just the number of opportunities I’ve had as a result of being here,” Rosenthal said. “There’s just so much to do.”


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