CU senior wins $10,000 Scott Carpenter Award
Ben Safdi likes to aim high.
A senior engineering physics and applied math double major, Safdi is a competitive climber and is also the recent winner of the 2007 Scott Carpenter Award.
On Nov. 15, Safdi was presented with the Scott Carpenter Award with a $10,000 scholarship. The award and scholarship, named after Scott Carpenter, a Colorado alum and second American to orbit Earth, comes from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1984 in order to provide scholarships to college students who show leadership as well as motivation in the scientific field.
Safdi is a diligent student. He is known for his aptitude for his areas of study as well as his fierce work ethic – both of which are paying off.
“He is a guy who has exceptional clarity in his work. A lot of times he ends up explaining things much better than most of my professors,” said Dan Lobser, a senior engineering physics major.
The Scott Carpenter award does not only award those students who are exceptionally disciplined, but also those who illustrate an incredible enthusiasm.
“Ben always makes time for people,” said Seth Allred, a junior Germanic studies major. “He is a really good guy.”
His passion for psychics, which developed during high school, is matched only by his passion for rock climbing. He has been climbing in Colorado since his freshman year.
“Normally I go rock climbing for about four hours after class, then I stay up studying until about 4 a.m. and then I get up at 9 a.m. and do it again,” Safdi said.
Safdi tackles his long hours au natural. He gets through his day with nothing – not even a cup of coffee.
“I really think he is just a guy with a lot of passion. He just really enjoys what he does,” Allred said. “He has a great way of just being in the present.”
The Cincinnati native is big on family and finds his own sense of inspiration at home. Safdi named his siblings as both huge inspirations.
“I have always looked up to my brother and my sister. My sister is the real overachiever of the family,” Safdi said.
In addition to the sciences, Safdi also studies Japanese. He spent time in Japan last summer, and hopes to one day return and perhaps teach English.
“It is really a beautiful culture,” Safdi said. “I’d like to backpack through Central Asia. I love to travel and meet new people.”
It is no surprise that Safdi has high hopes for the future. He has applied to both Princeton and Stanford for graduate school, as well as a program at Cambridge University in England.
Safdi plans to use the scholarship to help pay for the remainder of his tuition while he finishes up his last months at CU. While he notes that the award was a “pleasant surprise,” he said he brushes off the compliments and gets back to work.
Contact CU Campus Press Writer Emily Sturges at Emily.Sturges@Colorado.edu