UW Graduate School

Julieta Gruszko, by virtue of being a doctoral student in physics, regularly interacts with world-class faculty and scientists. And soon, she’ll be mingling with Nobel laureates.

Gruszko has earned the rare privilege of attending the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany this June. These annual conferences bring together Nobel laureates and the brightest young scientists from around the world. Apart from the Nobel Prize Award Ceremonies themselves, the Lindau is the largest congregation of Nobel laureates.

“I know that Julieta will have the time of her life, and will never forget this experience,” Graduate School Dean Dave Eaton said. “I know from discussion with past UW graduate students who received this same honor that it is a life-changing experience.”

In the last decade, 20 University of Washington students have been selected to attend Lindau meetings. The focus of the conference rotates among the science disciplines of the Nobel Prizes.

“The fact that Julieta was chosen this year is especially exciting because this year’s meeting is focused on physics, and the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics was just awarded in our research field of neutrino physics,” Gruszko’s research advisor Jason Detwiler said. “UW researchers made significant contributions to [the experiments that won the Nobel]. This makes Julieta’s participation particularly relevant.”

Gruszko, who is also an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) scholar and National Science Foundation fellow, says her personal approach is to apply for everything that comes across her path. She said, “I’m shocked at how many people don’t apply for things. I mean, they essentially write themselves off before they even let someone else make a decision.”

She added, “I’m from Argentina originally. I came to the United States as a kid, so part of my reaction to all these fellowships is knowing the difference in opportunities between the Argentine and U.S. university system.”

Detwiler praised Gruszko’s leadership and creative problem-solving skills, adding that “amidst all of her research activities she never loses focus of the big picture, and she regularly engages in outreach and community building activities.”

These activities involve being a peer mentor in her department, playing ukulele with classmates, and participating in the student-run Philosophy of Science Reading Group.

Gruszko also volunteers with “Science Explorers,” an after-school program designed and taught by UW students. She visits a local elementary school once a week to tutor and demonstrate hands-on experiments.

For all her academic achievements, Gruszko points to the approval of these children as her biggest accomplishment. “When a fifth-grader decides you’re cool, that’s just the best feeling in the world.”