Fred Hoover Scholarship Award

Omar Leon with Martha Hoover
Omar Leon with Martha Hoover

Fred Hoover was known throughout the university as a kind, caring, friendly and outgoing man who was a passionate believer in the importance of education. He enrolled at Florida International University in 1972 and was in the original graduating class as FIU’s first ever physics major. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 1974, and later earned a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration from FIU. After he graduated, he remained at FIU as the Laboratory Manager for the Chemistry Department, until his death on Nov. 5, 1998. The Fred Hoover Memorial Endowment Fund was created to honor Mr. Hoover's memory by providing financial support to undergraduate students majoring in Physics at Florida International University.

The 2012-13 scholarship recipient is Omar Jesus Leon. Omar sought non-traditional courses that led him to enroll in modeling physics courses. Because of these courses, he fell in love with physics and decided to become involved with the department. Omar applied to become a Learning Assistant for the Department of Physics and also became a member of the Society of Physics Students. Through his experiences at FIU and the plasma physics lab, he can confidently say that he now wants to work in the field of plasma physics. He has learned about engineering as well, and the possibilities that fusion energy can provide. It is his passion to take fusion to the next level and have it be an efficient, reliable and marketable, renewable energy source.

Omar continues to be involved in the Society of Physics Students, where he has served as an executive board member. The society has hosted events to help engage high school and college students in a variety of physics experiments. At these events, he created a Ruben’s Tube, and he acquired funding to have a speaker attend and lecture about plasma. As part of the club, Omar helped mentor students of all majors by offering tutoring in math and physics throughout the school year.

At the evening reception and scholarship presentation in the Faculty Club, both Fred and Omar’s family members attended. Martha Hoover, Kyle Hoover and other family members were present at the ceremony, as well as Omar’s mentor, physics professor Werner Boeglin. Many of Fred’s friends and colleagues were present to honor his memory and commitment to the university. Omar’s mother also attended, along with family friends and fellow physics students, all of whom were very proud of his accomplishments.

The award reception was sponsored by the School of Integrated Science and Humanity, the Women’s Studies Center and the Department of Physics.