Kekejian has been awarded 2020 LSU Alumni Association International Student Scholarship

Department of Physics & Astronomy PhD candidate David Kekejian has been awarded a 2020 LSU Alumni Association International Student Scholarship.

"This scholarship is a testament of academic success and offers impeccable recognition of my abilities and endeavors that will surely help advance my scientific career," said Kekejian. "I am very thankful to LSU and its community for helping me achieve this award."

Each year the Office of International Programs facilitates the LSU Alumni Association International Student Scholarship program. One of four 2020 winners, Kekejian will receive a $2500 cash award.

"The value of attending LSU is immeasurable," said Kekejian." Through its prestigious research programs, athletic departments and its ability to connect people LSU successfully created a diverse environment that encourages communication and fosters collaboration with students and professors from different academic backgrounds and ethnicities which is vital for learning and developing, especially from an international perspective since it enriched my views and gave me the opportunity to advance my professional career, all essential resources for improvement and growth that otherwise would have been inaccessible to me."

While pursuing his PhD at LSU, Kekejian works with Roy P. Daniels Professor of Physics Jerry Draayer in the nuclear theory and computational physics research group.

“In my research at LSU I had the privilege to work with two great scientists, my research advisor Dr. Jerry Draayer and Dr. Kristina Launey," said Kekejian. "Under their guidance I was able to improve my nuclear theory knowledge and gain valuable computational skills which allowed me to successfully carry out a two-fold computational and theoretical research project. The computational part involves the development of a deformed no core symplectic shell model code that will give us the ability to reduce the complexity of computational problems by utilizing symmetries. As for the theoretical part of my research, it includes the construction of a symplectic effective quantum field theory that will help answer fundamental questions in nuclear physics like why symplectic is a dominant symmetry in nuclei and how does it emerge."

"During my time at LSU I have had many chances to prove and improve my leadership abilities, engage with the community, encourage diversity of thought and culture and accomplish various academic achievements. A good testament to my leadership skills is when I served as the treasurer of the International Student Association (ISA) at LSU for two years. I was responsible for managing the funds of ISA which was challenging since ISA is a non-profit student organization so we were not allowed to make money. I was able to work around it by legally transferring our funds into a savings account which gave dividends and thus successfully raising funds for the organization without considerable effort. Additionally, I was actively engaged in the LSU community by volunteering for Students Physics Society (SPS) to organize physics demos for high school students to emphasize the importance of science and encourage them to pursue studies in STEM. Further engagement was achieved by my contributions to promote diversity through major involvement in organizing the international fusion event during my time as treasurer of ISA. This is the biggest international student event organized every year which brings students together to share and celebrate foreign cultures through exhibitions, live performances and coming together at the International Cultural Center (ICC) to enjoy international cuisine and socialize. My role in it was to create a budget and present it to the student government for more funds, rent the union theatre for performances, ordering all the food, to interact with international students and make them feel a part of the LSU community in order to foster diversity of culture. Finally, ample examples of my academic achievements are authoring various scientific publications in two areas of science, namely nuclear physics and chemistry, and being invited to the Golden Key Honor Society."

Kekejian is of Armenian origin and is from Syria. He earned his BS in physics from Yerevan State University, Armenia in 2014.


Mimi LaValle
LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy