ELON, N.C. – Nick Ciolkowski of the Elon University men’s cross country team was named one of 15 rising juniors that were selected as the recipients of the 2017 Lumen Prize. The Lumen Prize is Elon’s premier award that comes with a $15,000 scholarship to support and celebrate academic achievements and research proposals.
Ciolkowski is the second Elon athlete to win the prestigious award following volleyball’s Ali Deatsch ’13, who earned the scholarship in 2011.
“I was thrilled when I learned I had received this honor,” said Ciolkowski. “I had already been working on this project for a couple of months and I was excited to learn that now I would have all the resources to bring it to its full potential. It’s an honor to be one of Elon’s 2017 Lumen Prize winners.”
The Fairport, N.Y., native will work closely with his mentor, Jenn Dabrowski, over the next two years to pursue and complete his project: Synthesis, Characterization, and Bioactivity of Vanadium Based Phosphonate Antibiotic Analogues.
“My research focuses synthesizing vanadium based organometallic antibiotics that are capable of overcoming organisms that have become resistant to conventional antibiotics,” said Ciolkowski. “My mentor and I hope to finish synthesizing the molecule sometime next year, after which I’ll be characterizing its structure and testing its bioactivity. This will potentially involve working in labs at UNC and Duke, as well as here at Elon.”
The award is the latest to a laundry list of academic and athletic accomplishments this year for Ciolkowski. He was named the Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Year for the second straight season after successfully defending his league individual title in 2016. He received All-CAA honors for the second time in his career after finishing the CAA Cross Country Championships with a time of 25:08.10 – 13 seconds faster than the runner-up.
Ciolkowski would later earn another prestigious league honor as he was selected the 2016 Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year. It was the first CAA Scholar-Athlete award for the biochemistry major in his career.
“Nick is a shining example of what it means to be a student-athlete,” said Elon head cross country and assistant track and field coach Nick Polk. “His outstanding athletic achievements are matched by his achievements in the classroom. I am proud to see that his dedication, hard work and persistence have led to him winning the Lumen Prize.”
Rising juniors submit their applications for this highly competitive award during the spring term. Lumen applicants map out their vision for their junior and senior years, developing a plan for coursework, research, creative productions or performances, service projects, travel, summer workshops or institutes and international study or internships. A committee of faculty from across the institution determines its selections based on the intellectual/creative merit, distinction and coherence of the proposal, as well as those qualities of intellectual passion, commitment and experience of the applicant.
The name for the Lumen Prize comes from Elon’s historic motto, “Numen Lumen,” which are Latin words meaning “spiritual light” and “intellectual light.” The words, which are found on the Elon University seal, signify the highest purposes of an Elon education.