Goldwater Scholars 2017: Alabama, Iowa State Lead Publics, but Regional Publics Do Well

Each year, we provide an update of Goldwater scholarships won by public university students, and public universities did extraordinarily well in 2017, winning 128 out of 240  scholarships awarded this year. The percentage of scholars is down slightly from 2016, when 136 out of 252 scholars were from state universities. This year, there were also 307 honorable mentions.

The total number of scholarships has declined from 260 awarded in 2015, to 252 in 2016, and now to the 240 awarded in 2017.

The University of Alabama and Iowa State led publics with four scholars each, the maximum for any one school.

The following universities had three winners each: UAB, College of Charleston, Cincinnati, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, UT Dallas, Washington State, and UW Madison.

And those with two winners each are: Clemson, George Mason, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Miami Ohio, Michigan, UN Omaha, UN Reno, New College Florida, New Mexico, UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, Oregon State, Stony Brook, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Geneseo, UC Santa Barbara, Utah State, and West Virginia.

It is notable that more publics that are not flagships are seeing success with Goldwater awards. Two thoughts on this development: (1) honors colleges, emphasizing undergrad research, are growing in these colleges and (2) the faculties at these schools often have credentials than, in past decades, would have earned them an appointment at an elite university. These are reasons that New York Times columnist Frank Bruni can write an important book titled Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be. It helps to explain why Rhodes Scholars can now come from schools such as UW Eau Claire and UT Chattanooga.

The 2017 list of multiple winners above does include schools that are Goldwater leaders over time, with more than 40 awards total as of 2017: Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Georgia, Indiana, UNC Chapel Hill, South Carolina, and Alabama.

We provide this update each year because Goldwater scholars are all still undergraduates, and their selection is an indication of the undergraduate research opportunities at their universities. The Goldwater Scholarship is and amazing predictor of postgraduate success. 

Here’s evidence provided by the Goldwater Foundation: “Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 89 Rhodes Scholarships, 127 Marshall Awards, 145 Churchill Scholarships, 96 Hertz Fellowships and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.”

“The Goldwater Scholars were selected based on academic merit from a field of 1,286 natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering students nominated by the campus representatives from among 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide. Of those reporting, 133 of the Scholars are men, 103 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Twenty-two Scholars are mathematics majors, 153 are science and related majors, 51 are majoring in engineering, and 14 are computer science majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer science.”

The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

 

Honors Programs Plus Strong Merit Aid: Alabama Honors College

Editor’s Note:  This is the second post in a new, lengthy series that will highlight ten or more public university honors colleges and programs that are (1) excellent academically and (2) offer substantial merit aid either through the honors program or the university as a whole.

For many readers it will come as no surprise to learn the the University of Alabama and its honors college offers some of the most generous merit aid packages in the country to high-achieving students. Yet our recent visit to UA sites revealed an even larger range of excellent scholarships than we had thought were available.

Before a listing of those awards (see below for national merit, in-state, and OOS), please know that the Honors College, despite being the largest in the nation (possibly as many as 7,000 students), nevertheless earned a 4.5 (out of a possible 5.0) rating in our latest book, Inside Honors. 

The major academic strengths of the college are a very large selection of honors classes, including honors sections in most academic disciplines; and an average honors class size of 26.6 students, even counting honors classes in the various departments. Honors students also do most of their honors work in honors-only classes, i.e., in classes that have few or no non-honors students.

Excellent honors residence halls are another strength of the college. The honors residence community includes Blount and Paty Halls, but almost 60% of honors students living on campus reside in Ridgecrest North and South, while another 28% live in Ridgecrest East and West.

“These buildings feature 4-bedroom suites with private bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living/dining area, and a kitchenette. The kitchenette has a full-size refrigerator, microwave, and cabinet space. The bedrooms feature height-adjustable beds with extended twin mattresses.”

Honors students are increasingly successful in winning prestigious Goldwater Scholarships, including the maximum of four allowed to a single college, in 2017. The award goes to outstanding sophomores and juniors who are working in the STEM disciplines. UA students have also won 15 Rhodes Scholarships and 16 Truman Scholarships.

MERIT AID FOR NATIONAL SCHOLARS

National Merit Finalists can receive the value of tuition for up to five years or 10 semesters for degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate (or law) studies. In addition,

–One year of on-campus housing at regular room rate (based on assignment by Housing and Residential Communities.

A $3,500 per year Merit Scholarship stipend for four years. A student must maintain at least a 3.3 GPA to continue receiving this scholarship stipend. If a corporate-sponsored scholarship from the National Merit Corporation is received, the total value cannot exceed $3,500. (For example, if you receive a corporate-sponsored scholarship of $2,000 per year, UA will contribute $1,500 per year to reach the total stipend amount of $3,500. There is a one-time allowance of $2,000 for use in summer research or international study (after completing one year of study at UA).

Technology Enrichment Allowance $1,000.

National Merit Semifinalists are also eligible for extremely generous aid as Presidential Scholars, amounting to full tuition for four years. The award requires a 32-36 ACT or 1450-1600 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA. Recipients “will receive the value of tuition, or $41,800 over four years ($10,470 per year). Students graduating with remaining tuition scholarship semester(s) may use these monies toward graduate school and/or law school study at UA.”

ACADEMIC ELITE SCHOLARSHIPS

To be considered for the Academic Elite Scholarships, a student must be accepted as a member of the University Fellows Experience (UFE). The student must maintain membership in the UFE to continue holding an Academic Elite Scholarship. Complete information on the UFE can be found on the University Fellows website.

There are a total of 8 academic elite scholars named each year. The pool of eligible applicants typically exceeds 1,000 students. These scholarships are awarded for 4 years. Seven Academic Elite Scholarship recipients will receive: Tuition plus one year of on-campus housing at regular room rate, $8,500 stipend per year, and a $1,000 one time technology stipend

The top Academic Elite Scholarship recipient will receive: Tuition, one year of on-campus housing at regular room rate, $8,500 stipend for the first year, $18,500 stipend for years 2-4, $5,000 study abroad stipend (to be used after at least one academic year is completed), a $1,000 one time technology stipend.

Eligibility for the University Fellows Experience requires an ACT score of 32 or a SAT score of 1450 (evidence-based reading and writing plus math) and a high school GPA of 3.8 who is accepted into UA will be eligible to complete the University Fellows Experience application. Applicants must first complete the Honors College application, and then must complete the UFE application. The general UFE application deadline is December 15.

 

OTHER MERIT AID ESPECIALLY FOR IN-STATE STUDENTS

First time freshmen who meet the December 15 scholarship deadline, have a qualifying score on the ACT or SAT and have at least a 3.5 cumulative high school GPA through the junior year will be eligible for the following merit-based scholarships:

Crimson Achievement Scholar: A student with a 25 ACT or 1200-1230 SAT score and minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA will be selected as a Crimson Achievement Scholar and will receive $8,000 over four years ($2,000 per year).

UA Legends: A student with a 26 ACT or 1240-1270 SAT score and minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA will be selected as a UA Legends Scholar and will receive $10,000 over four years ($2,500 per year).

Capstone Scholar: A student with a 27 ACT or 1280-1300 SAT score and minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA will be selected as a Capstone Scholar and will receive $16,000 over four years ($4,000 per year).

Collegiate Scholar: A student with a 28-29 ACT or 1310-1380 SAT score and a minimum GPA of 3.5 a student will be named a Collegiate Scholar and will receive $20,000 over four years ($5,000 per year).

Foundation in Excellence Scholar: A student with a 30-31 ACT or 1390-1440 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA will be named a Foundation in Excellence Scholar and will receive $32,000 over four years ($8,000 per year).

Presidential Scholar: A student with a 32-36 ACT or 1450-1600 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA will be selected as a Presidential Scholar and will receive the value of tuition, or $41,800 over four years ($10,470 per year). Students graduating with remaining tuition scholarship semester(s) may use these monies toward graduate school and/or law school study at UA.

 

MERIT AID ESPECIALLY FOR OUT-OF-STATE STUDENTS

Note: These are the same requirements as those above for in-state students, but the dollar amounts are larger. Please note especially the extremely high value of the Presidential Scholarship for OOS students.

Capstone Scholar: A student with a 27 ACT or 1280-1300 SAT score and a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA will be selected as a Capstone Scholar and will receive $20,000 over four years ($5,000 per year).

Collegiate Scholar: A student with a 28 ACT or 1310-1340 SAT score and a minimum GPA of 3.5 will be named a Collegiate Scholar and will receive $24,000 over four years ($6,000 per year).

Foundation in Excellence Scholar: A student with a 29 ACT or 1350-1380 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA will be named a Foundation in Excellence Scholar and will receive $52,000 over four years ($13,000 per year).

UA Scholar: A student with a 30-32 ACT or 1390-1480 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA, he or she will be named a UA Scholar and will receive $76,000 over four years ($19,000 per year).

Presidential Scholar: A student with a 33-36 ACT or 1490-1600 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA will be selected as a Presidential Scholar and will receive $100,000 over four years ($25,000 per year). Students graduating with remaining scholarship semester(s) may use these monies toward graduate school and/or law school study at UA.

Goldwater Scholars 2016: CUNY, Maryland, Wisconsin, U North Texas Shine

Each year, we provide an update of Goldwater scholarships won by public university students, and public universities did extraordinarily well in 2016, winning 136 out of 252  scholarships awarded this year. The percentage of scholars is slightly down from 2015, when 152 out of 260 scholars were from state universities.

We provide this update because Goldwater scholars are all still undergraduates, and their selection is an indication of the undergraduate research opportunities at their universities. The Goldwater Scholarship is also a strong predictor of postgraduate success.

“The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,150 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the institutional representatives of 415 colleges and universities nationwide,” according to the Goldwater Foundation.

“One hundred forty-four of the Scholars are men, 108 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Thirty Scholars are mathematics majors, 157 are science and related majors, 59 are majoring in engineering, and 6 are computer science majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines.

“The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

“Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 86 Rhodes Scholarships, 125 Marshall Awards, 134 Churchill Scholarships, and numerous other distinguished fellowships such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships.”

In 2015, six public universities had the maximum of four Goldwater scholars, but in 2016 there are four: CUNY Macaulay Honors, Maryland, the University of North Texas, and Wisconsin. In 2015, ten public universities had three scholars, and ten also have three scholars in 2016: Arizona State, Auburn, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland-Baltimore County, Miami Ohio, Montana State, Oklahoma, Pitt, and Stony Brook.

Here are the public universities with two Goldwater scholars in 2016:

Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
Connecticut
Delaware
Georgia
Illinois
Kansas
Kansas State
Michigan
Minnesota
NC State
South Carolina
South Dakota
Utah
UC Santa Barbara
Iowa State
Youngstown State
Ohio State
William and Mary
West Virginia

Univ of Arizona Honors Students Win Churchill Scholarships, Show Value of Undergrad Research

Editor’s Note: This post is by Jill Goetz, Karna Walter, and Emily Kotay of the University Arizona College of Engineering and Honors College and was first published on January 17, 2016, on the UA News site.

Two University of Arizona seniors have won prestigious Churchill Scholarships to complete a one-year master’s degree program at the University of Cambridge in England.

UA College of Engineering majors Travis Sawyer and Jeannie Wilkening, both students in the Honors College, are two of only 15 Churchill Scholars selected in 2016-2017 for outstanding academic achievement and proven research talent in science, engineering or mathematics.

Both are the third and fourth UA students to receive the award since it was first granted by the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States in 1963.

The UA is able to nominate only two students to apply for the Churchill Scholarship each year, and this year is the first time that both UA nominees have been awarded the scholarship.

Churchill Scholarships range from $50,000 to $60,000 and cover a year of tuition and fees at Cambridge University’s Churchill College. Scholars also receive travel and living allowances and may get additional funding for presentations at international conferences and visits to other universities.

Capturing Magic From Van Gogh’s Paintings

Sawyer is majoring in optical sciences and engineering, a program jointly administered by the College of Optical Sciences and College of Engineering. He is developing visual recognition software using different wavelengths, such as infrared and X-ray, to help scientists capture more detailed images for making discoveries in fields as different as art preservation, astronomy and medicine.

Travis Sawyer (photo credit Graeme Hunt)

Travis Sawyer (photo credit Graeme Hunt)

For his master of philosophy, or MPhil, degree in physics, he will conduct research on applying hyperspectral imaging for detecting early-stage cancer with Cambridge scientist Sarah Bohndiek, whose lab is affiliated with the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.

An Optics Ambassador with a 4.0 grade-point average throughout college, Sawyer came to optics in an unusual way. He was misdiagnosed with leukemia his freshman year and became fascinated with the optical instruments doctors used to examine him and, ultimately, ensure he was healthy.

Sawyer’s rising stardom was recognized in 2014 with a $10,000 Astronaut Scholarship, which he won again in 2015 — a first-ever feat at the UA. In 2015, he also won a Goldwater Scholarship, and his UA student team won the Robert S. Hilburn Memorial Optical Design Competition for its camera system to be sent to Saturn’s moon Titan.

“Hopefully, I can make a contribution or invent a technology that helps someone in the same way optics helped me,” Travis Sawyer says.

Sawyer credits his research mentors for their guidance. After Cambridge, Sawyer plans to pursue doctoral and postdoctoral work and establish his own research lab as a university professor.

Engineering for a Healthier Planet

Chemical engineering student Jeannie Wilkening studies how human activity affects biogeochemical cycles, the movement of water and other compounds through the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. She is particularly interested in how these processes relate to climate change and in developing models for more environmentally sustainable technologies.

“My experiences over the past four years have been instrumental in getting me to this point. I’ve been surrounded by incredible faculty, friends and classmates who have supported me, challenged me and taught me so much,”  Wilkening says.

Jeannie Wilkenning (photo courtesy Univ of Arizona College of Engineering)

Jeannie Wilkening (photo courtesy Univ of Arizona College of Engineering)

For her MPhil in earth sciences, she will conduct research with Cambridge scientist Alexandra Turchyn on carbon, sulfur and iron cycling in marshes and climate implications.

The Churchill Scholarship is the latest in a string of top honors and internships for Wilkening. She entered the UA as a National Merit Scholar and Flinn Scholar and, like Sawyer, won a Goldwater Scholarship in 2015.

She won a NASA Space Grant and interned at Princeton University and the University of Michigan through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. She belongs to the Tau Beta Pi and Omega Chi Epsilon engineering honor societies, is an Ambassador for both the Honors College and the College of Engineering and is president of the UA chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.

“Since I was a child, I have been incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by great female role models who instilled a passion in me for science and engineering,” Wilkening said.
One of them was her mother, Betsy Wilkening. After earning her own bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the UA in 1982, she became a popular science teacher at Richard B. Wilson Jr. Middle School. Two of her students there were Wilkening and Sawyer.

After Cambridge, Jeannie Wilkening plans to return to the U.S. to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and then an academic career, teaching and conducting research.

Goldwater Scholars 2015: Alabama, Clemson, Maryland, UMass, Minnesota, and Rutgers Lead the Way

Each year, we provide an update of Goldwater scholarships won by public university students, and public universities did extraordinarily well in 2015, winning 152 out of 260  scholarships awarded this year.

We provide this update because Goldwater scholars are all still undergraduates, and their selection is an indication of the undergraduate research opportunities at their universities.

In 2014, only three public universities had four Goldwater Scholars, the maximum number any school can have in a year. But in 2015, six public universities had the maximum: Alabama, Clemson, Maryland, Massachusetts Amherst, Minnesota, and Rutgers. An additional ten public universities had three scholars: Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, University at Buffalo, UT Dallas, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, and Montana State.

Two of the regional universities we follow each had two Goldwater Scholars in 2015: UW Eau Claire and Western Kentucky. Since 2008, Western Kentucky students have won 20 Goldwater scholarships.

“The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,166 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. One hundred seventy-two of the Scholars are men, 111 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Twenty-two Scholars are mathematics majors, 191 are science and related majors, 63 are majoring in engineering, and 7 are computer science majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines.

“The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

“Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 80 Rhodes Scholarships, 117 Marshall Awards, 112 Churchill Scholarships, and numerous other distinguished fellowships such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships.”

Goldwater Scholar Profiles: University of Connecticut

Editor’s note: This is another in our series featuring public university honors students who won prestigious Goldwater scholarships in 2014.  This post comes from the UConn Honors Program….

Three UConn honors students have each won a 2014 national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for Excellence in Education.

The scholarships, honoring Sen. Barry Goldwater, are designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to $7,500 per year. Both sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply.

Students are nominated for the award by UConn’s Office of National Scholarships, which supports them through the application process.

Michael Cantara ’16 (ENG) is an honors student from Barrington, R.I. He is a recipient of the Universities Space Research Association Education Scholarship, and a Learning Mentorship Scholarship through the School of Engineering. As a sophomore recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship, he will receive two years of funding.

Cantara has a passion for understanding the universe, and is currently conducting research in particle physics with Peter Schweitzer, assistant professor of physics, calculating “Q-balls, with a focus on their d1 term.” He is also working on a project with professor of physics William Stwalley and his team in the ultracold molecules laboratory.

Although it is early in his research career, Cantara has already participated in a summer research experience at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I., and because of this experience now has a Department of Defense security clearance.

Cantara is also an active member of the Society of Physics Students and UConn’s Physics Club, and has spent numerous hours doing community service. A musician, he plays both the electric and acoustic guitar and has taught others how to play. He also enjoys tennis, golf, basketball, cycling, and skiing.

Peter J. Larson Jr. ’15 (CANR), an honors student from New Canaan, Conn., aspires to earn an MD/Ph.D. and become an innovator in the world of virology, viral vectors, or gene therapy. He is currently working in the lab of Paulo Verardi, assistant professor of pathobiology, studying methods to produce recombinant vaccinia viruses. He has presented two posters on his research and is collecting more data for publication.

He has also been a research associate for the Tobacco Cessation Program at St. Vincent’s hospital in Bridgeport, Conn., and conducted field research on water quality in local rivers while still in high school. When he’s home, he is an active firefighter and EMT for the Vista Fire Department in Lewisboro, N.Y. (which is adjacent to New Canaan), and was named Rookie of the Year in 2011.

On campus, he is also busy outside of the lab, as a member of the UConn Ballroom Dance Team, and within the Honors Program, as a student worker and a mentor with the PATH Honors Mentoring Program, among other activities. He has received numerous awards, including the James Dewitt Scholarship, the William H. Allen Scholarship, and an Academic Excellence Scholarship. In 2012, the UConn Residence Hall Association named him President of the Year by for his work on the Buckley-Shippee-Sylvie Area Council.

Patrick J. Lenehan ’15 (CLAS), an honors student from Cheshire, Conn., is currently conducting research with Barbara Mellone, assistant professor of molecular and cell biology, on proteins and the formation of centromeres and kinetochores in Drosophila.

He has also worked in the lab of Rajeswari Kasi, associate professor of chemistry, investigating the use of high-molecular weight poly-acrylic acid to stabilize enzymes, and is contributing to a publication with Dr. Melanie Collins, whom he shadowed in the Pulmonary Department at Central Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, on the treatment of pediatric patients with cystic fibrosis. He was previously a research assistant for Dr. Alireza Shamshirsaz in the Department of Maternal and Fetal Medicine at UConn Health, where he contributed to several publications on obstetrics.

Ultimately, Lenehan plans to earn an MD/Ph.D., become a research oncologist, and advance treatments of the disease. At UConn, his stellar academic record has earned him recognition as a Babbidge Scholar. He is also the recipient of the Presidential Scholars Award Scholarship and the United Technologies Corporation Academic Scholarship.

In addition to his demanding course load and research schedule, Lenehan is a member of UConn’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Team.

Goldwater Scholar Profiles: University of Kentucky

Editor’s Note: This is the latest in our continuing series of profiles featuring students from public university  honors programs who won Goldwater Scholarships in 2014.  The following information is from the University of Kentucky.

The University of Kentucky Office of External Scholarships announces Samuel Saarinen, of Shelbyville, Ky., has been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship worth up to $7,500 per year. Saarinen is one of 283 students nationwide awarded the Goldwater Scholarship this year. This year’s Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,166 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

Saarinen plans to use the Goldwater Scholarship to fund studies at the graduate program of his choice.

The son of Anne and Tim Saarinen, Saarinen is currently pursuing computer science, mathematics and physics majors. He has been active in research since an early age working with Western Kentucky University professors Claus Ernst and Uta Ziegler on mathematics research in high school.

 A member of the UK Honors Program, Saarinen is currently participating in undergraduate research with Judy Goldsmith, professor of computer science at UK College of Engineering. Saarinen considers his research supervisors as also mentors who have had a major impact on his academic and personal growth. He also credits Paul Eakin, professor of mathematics, and Jerzy Jaromczyk, associate professor of computer science, as great influences on his studies.

Fellow winnerMatthew Fahrbach is a rising senior from Louisville KY with a 4.0 gpa, majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics. He was awarded a Presidential Scholarship to attend UK.  As a sophomore, Matthew was selected as a Chellgren Fellow and conducted research with Dr. Jerzy Jaromczyk on shortest k-radius sequences. He presented this research at the 2013 UK Showcase for Undergraduate Scholars. 

For the summer of 2013, he was accepted by an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of Washington where he conducted research in enumerative combinatorics under the mentorship of Dr. Sara Billey. The research showed that each peak in a peak set is a root of the corresponding peak polynomial, and furthermore, if an odd difference exists between two peaks, then a subset of the peak polynomial’s integral roots.

Matthew was the Team Captain of the University of Kentucky Association of Computing Machinery Programming Team when they were named the top public school team in the Mid-Central North American region.  He is also an active member of Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity and completes at least 20 hours of community service per semester, primarily at Peacemeal Community Gardens. Matthew will graduate from UK in May 2015 and plans to pursue a PhD in Computer Science.  He hopes to research mathematical algorithms and teach as a professor at a university. He also wants to work closely with undergraduate students by mentoring research projects and coaching a competitive programming team.


 

 

 

Goldwater Scholar Profiles: UMass Commonwealth Honors College

Editor’s Note:  This is another in a series of profiles of 2014 winners of Goldwater Scholarships who are students at public university honors colleges or programs.

Three Commonwealth Honors College students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have received scholarships for work in the natural sciences and engineering as part of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Another received an honorable mention.

According to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of psychology and Director of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA) at the Commonwealth Honors College, “each participating campus can nominate up to four applicants, so we were particularly pleased that three of our UMass students won, and the fourth was recognized with Honorable Mention. This is a tribute to the great research being carried out by our faculty, and their dedication to advising and mentoring undergraduates in their labs.”  Working with Professor Whitbourne is Dr. Howard Schultz, a Lecturer in the Honors College, who assisted in recruiting applicants and advising those who were nominated on their final applications.

The winners are Alyson Warr, a junior majoring in microbiology from Freetown, MA; Stefan (Marco) Eres, a junior chemistry major from Knoxville, TN; and Marianne Sleiman, a junior chemical engineering major from Greenville, R.I. John Manteiga, a junior from North Andover, MA, pursuing majors in microbiology and biochemistry and molecular biology received honorable mention.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater for his service as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

Goldwater scholarships are intended to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Each competing university nominated its top four students, who were then evaluated by the national Goldwater Scholarship selection committee. From a field of 1,166 mathematics, science and engineering students nominated by colleges and universities, 283 received scholarships and 247 received honorable mentions. The one- and two-year scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Alyson Warr has worked in the laboratory of microbiology professor Steven Sandler since 2012, and has studied cell division, recombination and repair in Escherchia coli bacteria. She is currently working on a project to identify genes that contribute to a novel cell division phenotype in response to stress conditions.

“With the age of antibiotics drawing to a close, the need for innovative drug targets and novel therapies to control bacterial growth is urgent,” said Warr. “I am committed to contributing to this development by elucidating the mechanistic details of cell division.”

Warr plans to pursue a Ph.D. in microbiology. After graduate school, she hopes to conduct research at a major university with a focus on developing novel drug therapies to control the spread of antibiotic resistant pathogens.

Marco Eres has worked with chemistry professor Dhandapani Venkataraman since 2011 studying organic photovoltaic cells and pursuing a new approach to fabricate semiconducting inks and methods to print photovoltaic cells. The lab is developing nanoscale components in the inks that will self-assemble into structures necessary for the production of solar cells.

Eres said, “I am motivated to pursue this project because it enables me to contribute to the shift in the chemical research community from the study of the relationship of atoms through strong covalent bonds to the study of the relationship of molecules through weaker, non-covalent attractions, a field known as supramolecular chemistry. I aim to use the knowledge I gain in this project to design new functional materials for applications in organic photovoltaics and sensing.”

Eres plans to pursue a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, specializing in supramolecular chemistry. His career plan is to lead a materials science research team in academia or industry.

Marianne Sleiman works with chemical engineering professor Shelly Peyton to study methods for using biomaterial systems to quantify how cancer cells respond to drugs when they are placed in environments that mimic a natural in vivo environment. In particular, they are interested in determining the relationship between tumor stiffening and the efficacy of a variety of underperforming chemotherapeutics.

“I am motivated to continue this leading research by using my knowledge to find a novel method to facilitate therapeutics during the drug screening process,” said Sleiman. “This research will help identify how mechanical and chemical changes in the ECM affect tumor growth and drug resistance, which will improve therapeutic methods, thus furthering cancer drug research.”

After graduation Sleiman will pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and hopes to lead a research team that will focus on understanding carcinomas and finding novel therapies to impede the development of tumors.

John Manteiga has worked with microbiology professor John Lopes since 2012 to study the proteins responsible for the regulation of gene expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast.             

“Understanding how proteins work and interact with one another is an essential step on the path toward curing cancer and many other genetic diseases.” Manteiga intends to earn a Ph.D. and then pursue work in biotechnology, genetic diseases, or pharmaceuticals in an industrial research setting.

According to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, director of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement at Commonwealth Honors College, each nominee was required to submit an application, an essay describing academic and career plans, a research proposal, and three letters of reference.

Goldwater Scholar Profiles: ASU Barrett Honors Students

Editor’s Note: The post below by Arizona State writer Sarah Auffret is another in our series on 2014 Goldwater scholars from public university honors programs….

Three outstanding Arizona State University juniors who already are doing sophisticated research have won Goldwater Scholarships, the nation’s premier awards for undergraduates studying science, math and engineering.

Working in the laboratories of ASU senior faculty and scientists, the students carry out research ranging from developing biosensors for early detection of infectious diseases to conducting microelectronics research at ASU’s Flexible Display Center.

Recipients are Ryan Muller of Phoenix, majoring in biochemistry and molecular/cellular biology; Brett Larsen of Chandler, majoring in electrical engineering and physics; and Jakob Hansen of Mesa, a mathematics and economics major. Each of the four will receive $7,500 a year for up to two years.

All are in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, while Larsen is also in the Fulton Schools of Engineering. All three are enrolled in Barrett, the Honors College. A fourth student who received honorable mention is Samuel Blitz, a physics major from Scottsdale.

ASU students have won 55 Goldwater Scholarships in the last 21 years, placing ASU among the leading public universities.

Muller is a resourceful and motivated student who began doing research at ASU while still a student at North High School, and again the summer before his freshman year. Xiao Wang, assistant professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, remembers that even though Muller was initially the youngest member of the iGEM synthetic biology research team, others quickly began to rely on him.

“His ideas were fresh, innovative and motivating to the team,” says Wang. “In fact, the first day he volunteered in my lab, without any prior experience, he implemented a strategy to effectively screen for bacterial colonies that contained the correct transformed plasmid. The team began to rely on his resourcefulness.”

In subsequent years, Muller continued working on the team and was a key player in helping them develop a portable, low-cost biosensor system to detect pathogens in water supplies. They won a gold medal and a spot in the international championship event for one of the world’s premiere student engineering and science competitions.

Interested in expanding their work, Muller and others assembled a team of undergraduate researchers to seek additional funding. Last year, they were grand prize winners at the ASU Innovation Challenge and at the ASU Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative. Their fledgling company, Hydrogene Biotechnologies, may help cut down on water-borne diseases that can kill, such as acute childhood diarrhea.

Hansen, a graduate of Red Mountain High School, is a talented mathematician who has been a delight to his professors as someone who enjoys the formal beauty of mathematics, yet is committed to doing research into real problems that affect humans.

“Jakob is exceptionally talented at mathematics, and is one of relatively few undergraduates that I have taught at ASU who was equally enthusiastic about pure and applied mathematics,” says Jay Taylor, assistant professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistical Sciences. “He was always very keen to discuss the theory underpinning the techniques that I presented in class.

“For his project, he wrote a computer program to simulate a malaria outbreak in a small population and used this to investigate the conditions under which malaria will persist in small populations subject to seasonal variation in transmission intensity.”

Hansen participated in ASU’s Computational Science Training for Undergraduates last summer with Rosemary Renaut, professor of mathematics, who praised his mathematical sophistication to the Goldwater committee. He is continuing his research with Renault into more abstract problems.

Larsen, a graduate of Tri-City Christian Academy, received funding early in his career from the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative. Over the past two years, he has conducted research at ASU’s Flexible Display Center, developing ultra low-power circuits and applying advanced signal processing techniques to personnel detection along borders and in hostile territory.

Larsen says his interest in science was sparked by a Boy Scout leader, an electrical engineer who talked to him about subjects that enthralled him: objects traveling at the speed of light, the astonishing power of fusion and fission reactions, and theoretical designs for time machines and light sabers. Larsen was inspired to excel in science so he could push the boundaries of technology.

Called “a brilliant young man” by Antonia Papandreou-Suppappola, professor of electrical engineering, Larsen shares his love of science by mentoring a group of engineering freshmen and leading a science club for young children at the Child Crisis Center. In the future, he hopes to focus his work on developing mathematical models for defense applications.

“ASU’s success in the Goldwater competition is in large part due to the excellent opportunities our students have had to do advanced lab research with talented and committed faculty,” says Janet Burke, associate dean for national scholarship advisement in Barrett, the Honors College.

“It goes without saying that the drive and brilliance of the students themselves are both important. I have a top-notch Goldwater committee who do a superb job of selecting the students whose applications will bubble to the top of the pile.”

Goldwater Scholar Profiles: Purdue Honors College

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series on 2014 Goldwater Scholarship winners who are students in public university honors programs.

Haefa Mansour – College of Engineering and Honors College

A major in Chemical Engineering, Haefa Mansour is a junior from Mentor, Ohio who intends to pursue a research-oriented career as a professor of chemical/biomolecular engineering and to focus on new protein-based materials for better surgical adhesives. Haefa has worked extensively in the Birck Nanotechnology Center and progressed with her team to the world competition of the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition in 2012. She has worked closely with her mentor, Dr. Julie Liu, Professor of Chemical Engineering, on protein and tissue engineering at Purdue.

Ms. Mansour is actively involved with the Stamps Scholars Program which is also under the HC umbrella.

“Taking the leadership initiative as a freshman, Haefa was named Assistant Director of the Purdue Student Government. She was selected to participate in a weekly leadership session instructed by France Cordova, President of Purdue University, and other important Purdue faculty. Haefa was also named Chairperson of the Engineering Honors Learning Community and is responsible for managing the events hosted by this group of honors engineering students.” http://www.stampsfoundation.org/portfolios/haefa-mansour-purdue-university-15/

 Sean McDowell – College of Engineering and Honors College

Sean McDowell, from Stevensville, Michigan, is pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering with the goal of developing next-generation prosthetic limbs that improve the body’s interaction with a motor prosthesis through a neural interface. He received the Industrial Roundtable Scholarship from Cognizant Technology Solutions and has also presented his research at the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Symposium. He has conducted research in Purdue’s NeuroProstheses Research Laboratory with Dr. Kevin Otto, Professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering.

Mr. McDowell has been an integral part of the HONR mentor program since its inception in 2012. He currently serves as one of two mentor captains in Honors College and will serve as the head mentor in 2015.

“If I hadn’t had been involved with the Honors College, I never would have applied for the Goldwater Scholarship. [An HC faculty member] brought up the idea my sophomore year when mentoring for the first-year honors seminar, and then she kept encouraging me to apply through the start of my junior year. Although the research I wrote about is focused on my work in biomedical engineering, my work with the Honors College helped reinforce the balance of skills I needed to be a successful candidate.” – Sean McDowell  April 15, 2014

Nicholas Pogranichniy – College of Science and University Honors Program

Sophomore Nicholas Pogranichniy is from West Lafayette, Indiana, and is a Biochemistry major who plans to pursue a Ph.D in Chemistry. He has worked closely in the lab with Dr. Simpson, Professor of Analytical and Physical Chemistry.  Although the Goldwater Scholarship is open to sophomores and juniors, it is much more challenging for sophomores to win.  This year, only 16% of the scholarships were awarded to sophomores.