Inaugural Robert L. Clarke Graduate Scholarship awarded

Chad Hunter is the inaugural winner of the Robert L. Clarke Graduate Scholarship in medical physics.

Created five years ago, the scholarship is awarded to a graduate student at Carleton specializing in medical physics, on the recommendation of the chair of the Department of Physics.

The scholarship was created in memory of Bob Clarke, the founder of the medical physics graduate program at Carleton and the Ottawa Medical Physics Institute.

“Bob was a real citizen of Carleton University,” says Pat Kalyniak, physics department chair. “He was a warm, upbeat, incredibly committed man. He set a welcoming tone in our department.”

“[Bob] said that all of the honours bestowed on him by the university,” adds Bog Jarosz, associate professor of physics and Clarke’s friend and colleague, “were of less substance than this scholarship in his name.”

Hunter says receiving this scholarship is “indescribable.”

“When they first told me I was getting this award, I jumped out of my chair,” says Hunter, who was feted at a ceremony in February. “It’s a real privilege to be a part of a community that Dr. Clarke helped to create.”

For Hunter, it means being able to continue his research at the Ottawa Heart Institute without having to take a teaching assistant job to pay his way. It also gives him up to 15 hours more a week to devote to his studies.

He is researching the radioactive isotope Rubidium 82, which is used to measure blood flow in the heart. Doctors can use this information to help diagnose heart disease, but there’s a controversy over the correct dose for this radiation. Hunter is planning to resolve this ambiguity.

Hunter also took his undergrad in theoretical physics at Carleton and is well known in the faculty for being dedicated and hard-working. He says one of the reasons he chose to stay at Carleton was the opportunity to work at the Ottawa Heart Institute.

“The nice thing about this research is that I get to actually deal with real patients,” says Hunter. “I get to analyze their data and help contribute to an actual situation that will help patients in the future. That’s why I went into medical physics to begin with.”

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