APS News

August/September 2016 (Volume 25, Number 8)

On the Road to Research: Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education


By Rachel Gaal

With a reputation for fostering research potential, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program provides funding for undergraduate students whose “lifelong dream” is working as a researcher in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Established in honor of Senator Barry Goldwater in 1986, the congressional program is highly competitive. Considered one of the premier U.S. undergraduate scholarships, the merit-based awards are offered only to students who are nominated by their current home institution. This year’s awards recognized 54 scholars majoring in physics and astronomy plus related disciplines including engineering physics, geophysics, and biophysics, along with 43 honorable mentions.

From over 1,100 applications received each year, around 250 students are chosen based on academic achievement and demonstrated research ability. While research experience is not a requirement of the scholarship, the ability to pursue and excel in research shines through in many successful nominees. “The past president conducted a survey in 2014 of all Goldwater scholar recipients from 2008,” explains John Mateja, recently appointed Goldwater president, and the third to hold the position in the foundation’s 30-year history. “From those that responded, about 50% of students had gone on to get Ph.D.’s in their field, and another 20% were working toward [that goal]. Upwards of 72% reported they were actively involved in research, so that’s a lot of positive feedback.”

Students are eligible to apply after either their sophomore or junior years. The scholarship provides up to $7,500 for each remaining undergraduate year, so the total award can be as large as $15,000.

“We’ve been funding about 300 students each year, and we have about 2,000 schools that have campus representatives for our scholarship,” says Mateja. “While many campuses are active in nominating students, I hope that we can [further] promote our scholarship — there are a lot of deserving students out there that should be nominated [for this award], celebrating students and their faculty members for their hard work.”

The 2016 Goldwater Scholars and Honorable Mentions also receive a free one-year APS membership for their exceptional achievements. Ted Hodapp, APS director of project development and senior advisor to APS education and diversity programs, expresses his excitement for this special offer to scholars. “We would like for [the scholars] to know about options in the professional life after their studies … what better way to do that [than] with access to APS membership, free of cost.”

For more about the scholarship visit The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Barry Goldwater photo
Photo: senate.gov

Senator Barry Goldwater (1909-1998)

Physics and Astronomy 2016 Scholars

Kevin Y Chen
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Major(s): Physics, Biophysics

Kayla R Currier
Institution: Occidental College
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Kfir S Dolev
Institution: University of California: Santa Cruz
Major(s): Physics, Computer Science

Christina Garcia
Institution: University of California: Santa Barbara
Major(s): Physics

Rachel Kahn
Institution: Scripps College
Major(s): Physics

Grace A Pan
Institution: Yale University
Major(s): Physics

Nathan R Sandford
Institution: Pomona College
Major(s): Physics

Benjamin C Stevens
Institution: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Major(s): Mechanical Engineering, Physics

Ashvin A Swaminathan
Institution: Harvard College
Major(s): Mathematics, Physics

Qicheng Zhang
Institution: University of California: Santa Barbara
Major(s): Physics

Jonas Kaufman
Institution: Harvey Mudd College
Major(s): Physics

Tiffany A Paul
Institution: University of Florida
Major(s): Physics

Raymond A Sevrinsky
Institution: Georgia State University
Major(s): Physics

Daniel Clark
Institution: Hope College
Major(s): Physics, Chemistry

Alex C Tarter
Institution: Creighton University
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Shreyas Vissapragada
Institution: Columbia University
Major(s): Astrophysics, Computer science

Michael J Peters
Institution: Indiana University Bloomington
Major(s): Physics, Math, Astronomy

Molly Finn
Institution: University of Rochester
Major(s): Physics, Astronomy

Conrad L Smart
Institution: University of Louisville
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Jing He
Institution: Middlebury College
Major(s): Physics

Robert E Johnston
Institution: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Major(s): Physics, Chemical Engineering

William M Kirby
Institution: Williams College
Major(s): Physics

Cameron Olson
Institution: Augsburg College
Major(s): Physics

Zoe S Lemon
Institution: University of Missouri: Kansas City
Major(s): Physics B.S., Mathematics minor

Jordan D Roth
Institution: Creighton University
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Patrick J Vallely
Institution: University of Oklahoma
Major(s): Astrophysics

Jennifer Coulter
Institution: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Major(s): Physics

Jonathan R Sorce
Institution: University of Chicago
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Kaitlin J Dunn
Institution: Clarkson University
Major(s): Electrical Engineering, Physics

Md Tanveer Karim
Institution: University of Rochester
Major(s): Physics and Astronomy

Lea Kenigsberg
Institution: SUNY University at Stony Brook
Major(s): Mathematics, Physics

Ellianna Schwab
Institution: City University of New York: City College
Major(s): Physics

Chiara P Salemi
Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics (and Astronomy minor)

Eliana B Crawford
Institution: Kenyon College
Major(s): Physics

Erin R Maier
Institution: University of Iowa
Major(s): Astronomy, Physics

Andrea S Biscoveanu
Institution: Penn State University Park
Major(s): Physics, Spanish

Angela F Harper
Institution: Wake Forest University
Major(s): Physics

Seth W Musser
Institution: University of Chicago
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Emily D Hu
Institution: University of North Texas
Major(s): Physics

Anagha Y Krishnan
Institution: University of North Texas
Major(s): Physics

Ethan Lake
Institution: University of Utah
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Benjamin C Lovelady
Institution: Utah State University
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Brook K Byrd
Institution: Christopher Newport University
Major(s): Applied Physics

Melissa A Guidry
Institution: College of William and Mary
Major(s): Physics, Applied Mathematics

Zachary D Short
Institution: West Virginia University
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Idris Boukahil
Institution: University of Wisconsin–Madison
Major(s): Applied Mathematics, Engineering, Physics

Natalie Ng
Institution: Stanford University
Major(s): Engineering Physics

Matthew N Winchester
Institution: University of Colorado Boulder
Major(s): Engineering Physics

Zachary M Ziegler
Institution: Cornell University
Major(s): Engineering Physics

Brandon P Rasmussen
Institution: University of Nevada: Reno
Major(s): Geophysics, Geology

Vikas Daggubati
Institution: Johns Hopkins University
Major(s): Biophysics

Mark J Moretto
Institution: University of Maryland: College Park
Major(s): Aerospace Engineering, Astronomy

Adam A Atanas
Institution: Harvard College
Major(s): Mathematics, Computer Science
Minor: Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy 2016 Honorable Mentions

Aidan L O'Beirne
Institution: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Major(s): Physics

Irene P Zhang
Institution: Columbia University
Major(s): Physics

Bryce A Bagley
Institution: Whitworth University
Major(s): Biophysics, Systems Engineering

Karthik Garimella
Institution: Hendrix College
Major(s): Physics, Computer Science

David W Jacobson
Institution: University of Arkansas
Major(s): Chemical Engineering, Physics

Remy L Delva
Institution: University of California: Berkeley
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Vikram Sundar
Institution: Harvard College
Major(s): Math, Physics

Jacob A Marks
Institution: Yale University
Major(s): Intensive Physics, Math, Philosophy

Samuel A Cherrier-Vickers
Institution: Florida State University
Major(s): Physics, Applied Mathmatics

Samantha R Collin
Institution: Rollins College
Major(s): Physics

Jennifer R Crawford
Institution: University of Florida
Major(s): Physics

Amelia E Estry
Institution: Florida State University
Major(s): Physics

Charlee Amason
Institution: Agnes Scott College
Major(s): Astrophysics

Johanna Mori
Institution: College of Idaho
Major(s): Math, Physics

Nicholas J Breslin
Institution: Western Illinois University
Major(s): Physics

Alicia Casacchia
Institution: North Central College
Major(s): Physics

Kayla Leonard
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Major(s): Physics, Astronomy

Nathaniel J Smith
Institution: DePauw University
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Daniel P Deeter
Institution: Drake University
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Jordan V Barrett
Institution: Syracuse University
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Hananiel Setiawan
Institution: Michigan State University
Major(s): Physics

Nathan L Carlson
Institution: University of North Dakota
Major(s): Physics, Astrophysics emphasis

Irene Duba
Institution: Lewis & Clark College
Major(s): Physics
Minor: Neuroscience

Dylan L Renaud
Institution: New Jersey Institute of Technology
Major(s): Applied Physics, Mathematics

Liane K Tarnecki
Institution: Boston University
Major(s): Astronomy, Physics

David A Chin
Institution: SUNY College at Geneseo
Major(s): Physics, Mathmatics

Jacob H Hamer
Institution: City University of New York: Hunter College
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Matthew J Reynolds
Institution: University of Scranton
Major(s): Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biophysics

Gautam R Nagaraj
Institution: North Carolina State University
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Avnika P Bali
Institution: Miami University: Oxford
Major(s): Biochemistry, Biological Physics

Kaeli A Hughes
Institution: Ohio State University: Columbus Campus
Major(s): Engineering Physics

Nathaniel M Starkman
Institution: Case Western Reserve University
Major(s): Mathematical Physics, Astronomy

Madeline Van Winkle
Institution: Denison University
Major(s): Chemistry, Physics

Brian R Josephson
Institution: Oregon State University
Major(s): Biochemistry and Biophysics

Arianna M Kahler-Quesada
Institution: Oregon State University
Major(s): Biochemistry and Biophysics

Phillip Kearns
Institution: University of Idaho
Major(s): Electrical Engineering, Physics

Timothy J Ireland
Institution: Duquesne University
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics

Alana Papula
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Major(s): Physics

Grant T Smith
Institution: Penn State University Park
Major(s): Physics

Louis J Varriano
Institution: University of Tennessee: Knoxville
Major(s): Physics

Nicolas T Nikoloutsos
Institution: Lamar University
Major(s): Physics, Electrical Engineering

Maksym V Zhelyeznyakov
Institution: Texas Tech University
Major(s): Physics

Michael P McDonnell
Institution: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Major(s): Physics

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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Rachel Gaal
Contributing Correspondent: Alaina G. Levine
Art Director and Special Publications Manager: Kerry G. Johnson
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik