May 14, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 9
Back Issues
‘Our Students Lead Us’
Sullivan Award-winners
Part of the fabric of University life
Curiosity drives Mitman’s pursuits
‘Reverend Nurse:’
At 52, Valley minister feels call to care for the whole person, spiritually and physically
Leap of a lifetime:
Athlete Kim Turko jumps a formidable hurdle — life-threatening illness
He’ll be back:
Adult education graduate studies adult education
‘Hungry to Help:’
Student refugee wants to improve the lives of Burma’s forgotten children
Revitalizing Main Street:
Jill Nolt’s plan for her hometown high school makes front-page news
Peace Corps bound:
Business major trades fast lane for slow pace on Tonga
First in her family:
Angela Caldwell, a Native American, overcomes community attitudes to become lawyer
From Crane’s love of the cosmos comes new era for stargazers
A history of Finals
Sharlotte Bolyard is flying high
A ministry of medicine

Bombay bound:
Darden grad to apply best U.S. business practices to family company in India

Peer educator looks beyond educating:
Health advocacy is next step for Alyssa Lederer

No ‘cookie-cutter’ solutions:
Family expert Charmaine Yoest says creativity, flexibility are keys to resolving work/family issues

Reflections on the road to enlightenment:
Thirteen years, one class at a time, but who was counting?

‘Connecting communities:’
Presentation on African-American history at U.Va. gets students thinking, talking
Curiosity drives Mitman’s pursuits

By Matt Kelly

Kurt Mitman
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff
Kurt Mitman holds the journal he helped create, the Wilson Journal of International Affairs, which focuses on foreign affairs and honors former president and U.Va. alumnus Woodrow Wilson.

What drives an undergraduate student to perform research in three separate fields, pursue two unrelated majors and start one journal of international affairs?

“Curiosity,” said Kurt E. Mitman, an Echols Scholar from McLean, Va.

Mitman, 22, who graduates in May with dual degrees in physics and economics, is U.Va.’s sixth Marshall Scholar and one of 40 students at the University to have received a national Goldwater Scholarship since 1989.

To say Mitman has been productive as an undergraduate would be a gross understatement. Over the past four years, this energetic student has excelled at undergraduate research, earning himself a Harrison Undergraduate Research Award and the satisfaction of investigating such topics as neuroscience and sealed-bid auctions.

“I find problems and pose questions,” he said. “I challenge myself to see if I can do [new things]. I want to jump in and see what I can contribute.”

He spent his third year studying natural sciences at Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge, England. Now, thanks to the Marshall Scholarship, he will return to England this fall to pursue a master’s in physics at Oxford University.

“Kurt has made the most of his undergraduate career with two distinguished and unrelated majors, he studied abroad, he was engaged in research, lived on the Lawn and started an international affairs journal,” said Nicole F. Hurd, assistant dean of the Center for Undergraduate Excellence, which serves as a clearinghouse for undergraduate research projects. “He’s leaving a remarkable legacy. I don’t know anyone who has done all of that in such a short period of time.”

For the record, Mitman’s connection to U.Va. goes back 22 years — he was born at the Medical Center in 1982, while his father, Matthias Mitman, was a graduate student and his mother, Susan Elliot, was an instructor at the School of Nursing.


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