Excelling in physics and music

By Yvie Croninger ’25

Paul Zelle ’24 has excelled in many things during his time at Wartburg, both in his field of study and in his musical endeavors.

 Zelle, a physics and computer science major, received the Rossing Scholarship in Physics from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America twice, as well as earned membership in Sigma Pi Sigma, Kappa Mu Epsilon, Phi Eta Sigma, and Alpha Chi honor societies. He also was a member of the Chess Club.

“Growing up around the computer science field I found it very interesting, but I also was always interested in science classes, which led me to believe that I would enjoy studying both,” said Zelle, whose father, Dr. John Zelle, teaches computer science at Wartburg. “I became very familiar with the campus, as well as the different groups that I could have the opportunity to be a part of, which meant that I would be able to get what I wanted out of an education focused on science while still being able to participate in music ensembles.”

Zelle plays violin for Kammerstreicher, Wartburg Community Symphony, and the St. George String Quartet, as well as the guitar in the Knightliters Jazz Band. He has also performed at Kastle Kapers during Homecoming.

Paul Zelle

“Music at Wartburg has provided an outlet for me to take a break from what I am studying, and the music ensembles have really provided me with a sense of community outside the classroom. It has just been great to be a part of both science and music, which is something that I have always been very interested in,” he said.

Zelle, who was named the college’s Outstanding Senior in Physics, will pursue his doctorate in physics at the University of Iowa this fall. He believes the math and physics courses he took at Wartburg helped him to build interest in different subfields of physics to explore, like high-energy physics, computational physics, or quantum computing, where he can combine his background in physics and computer science.