Nick Horton is the kind of student who, on his summer break, conducts experiments on space plasma, lasers, and landmines. He’s the kind of student who applies for—and receives—the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for graduate school.
But he’s also the kind of student who travels to Louisiana to help Hurricane Katrina victims, the kind who loves stand-up comics and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In short, he’s the prototypical Cornell Scholar.
“When I first met Nick at the Cornell Weekend—and this still makes me laugh when I think about it—he handed me his business card and said something like, ‘Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need anything,’” Provost Roger Casey said. “He was that remarkable and confident and mature at the age of 17. I was astounded by the promise I saw in him.”
Horton has lived up to that promise. As a first-year student, he was one of the youngest scientists invited to conduct research at the Polar Aeronomy and Radio Science Summer School program, for which he was given one-on-one tutoring by Rollins’ president, Lewis Duncan. Horton also conducted original research on landmine detection with Archibald Granville Bush Professor of Science Thomas Moore.
Thanks to the Goldwater Scholarship—presented to only 321 students—Horton is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in applied physics at Cornell University. He credits his liberal arts education at Rollins, and specifically the Cornell Scholarship, for such an opportunity.
“The Cornell [Scholarship] is a really great program,” Horton said. “It not only allowed me to come to the college that’s perfect for me, but the scholarship allowed me to have more time to focus on my studies, not on finding a job to help pay for school. It just took so much pressure off of me and opened so many doors.”
Major: Physics Minor: Chemistry
Hometown: Longwood, FL (by way of Minnesota)
Little-known fact: Volunteered in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina
So relates to: Napoleon Dynamite
Favorite literary character: Don Quixote
Known for: Large skull
Admits to… being afraid of spiders
Favorite toy as a child: K’NEX construction set (still has it)
You did what? Lost to a chicken in tic-tac-toe (“2nd grade, roadside attraction, don’t ask”)
Breakfast: Cocoa Krispies
Motto: “Every day is an opportunity for adventure.”
Dream job: Researcher