Student Earns Prestigious Rossing Physics Scholarship

Elijah Heyer ’25 has been named a Rossing Physics Scholar.

Heyer will receive a $5,000 award from the Thomas D. Rossing Fund for Physics Education. The awards are made possible through generous gifts from Dr. Thomas D. Rossing, who created the fund through the Foundation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

“Eli is an outstanding student who shows great curiosity about physics,” said Dr. Luiz Manzoni, chair of the physics department. “His goal is to go to grad school in astrophysics, and he shows exceptional promise for a research career.” 

Heyer spent last summer in a research group with Manzoni and quickly learned how to code for a computational project. 

“Eli is focused, independent and very creative, and he loves a challenge,” Manzoni said. 

Heyer credits that experience, along with his team involvement in the NASA/Minnesota Space Grant Consortium’s ballooning activity, for helping him earn the award. 

“Whether it was learning how to code or finding out what type of tape would hold together in the stratosphere, these projects presented new information and came with their fair share of challenges,” Heyer said.

Heyer’s love for physics started his senior year of high school in Fargo as it gave him a “unique look into the laws and interactions that make up our daily lives.”

That passion deepened at Concordia as the entire department created an environment that brings out the best in students. 

“The growth these professors promote among their students and the enthusiasm they bring to the classroom has pushed me to always put my best work forward,” he said. 

Dr. Thelma Berquó, associate professor of physics, praised Heyer’s work in and out of the classroom, most recently a talk he gave at the University of Minnesota about his research work. 

“His presentation was outstanding, and he showed that he was immersed in the problem that was proposed to him,” Berquó said. 

Heyer says he’s ready to continue to learn and develop important skills.

“Physics continues to reveal more to me about the natural world, and that deeper dive into the many areas of physics is something that I could never grow tired of,” Heyer said. “Looking ahead, the wide variety of interesting topics I have yet to learn about brings me excitement and guarantees that there is still lots of fun to be had. I’m very grateful for the opportunities that I know will come from this scholarship.”

“I am very happy that Eli was awarded the prestigious and well-deserved Rossing Scholarship,” said Manzoni. “He continues the tradition of outstanding Concordia students that have had the honor of being Rossing Physics Scholars.”

Learn more about the physics department at Concordia.