By Hayley Cox
Four Texas A&M University students have been nominated for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program were established in 1986 in honor of US Senator and republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater of Arizona. The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes college students nationwide in the science, mathematics, and engineering fields, selecting approximately 300 junior and senior students each year. Scholarship recipients are selected based on a criteria composed of reference letters, personal essays, and research experience. Universities can nominate up to four students for the Goldwater Scholarship per academic year.
2014 Goldwater nominee, Jack Reid ’15, is a junior mechanical engineering and philosophy student from Austin, Texas. Reid was recommended by Honors and Undergraduate Research’s (HUR) Jamaica Pouncy and was also nominated during his sophomore year after he became a University Scholar. He wrote his research proposal about non-thermal plasma research under Dr. David Stack and Dr. Maria King, and this proposal was then reviewed a national committee. In Reid’s words, the committee is looking for aptitude, along with a “genuine interest in research and a drive to follow through on it.”
Reid is a member of the weekly microbiology news program Invisible Jungle, a local project lead for Engineer Without Borders, and practices a form of martial arts called Aikido. Upon completion of his undergraduate career, Reid plans to attend graduate school with a technical focus. He said that after a Master’s degree in technical research, he intends to pursue a PhD. But as a junior, he hasn’t narrowed down the remainder of his future plans.
If selected as a 2014 Goldwater Scholarship recipient, Reid said the first word to come to mind would be “vindication.” He said, “It would be a wonderful confirmation that I am doing something right… The best part would just be knowing that I am a Goldwater Scholar.” In addition to the Goldwater Scholarship, Reid just submitted his application for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation nomination, in which he will find out if he continues later this month.
Another Goldwater nominee, Nick Mondrik, is a junior physics student from Belton, Texas. He has worked in Dr. Lin Shao’s Ions and Materials Facility in the Nuclear Engineering Department and for Dr. Darren Depoy in the Munnerlyn Astronomical Instrumentation Lab. Currently, he is working on heat transfer simulation for the VIRUS project (Visible Integral-Field Replicable Unit Spectrographs) and on preliminary data from the Dark Energy Survey underway in Cerro Tololo, Chile.
Mondrik came across the Goldwater Scholarship when he was looking at websites with information on graduate school profiles and decided to check it out. He wrote his research proposal on looking for outliers and variable stars in the Dark Energy Survey data. The nominee said, “The ideal candidate is one who devotes significant time and effort not only in the classroom, but also in the lab where acquired research tools are put into practice.”
On campus, Mondrik is also a Society of Physics Students tutor for underclassmen. He was also a National Merit Scholar coming out of high school. His future pursuits include attending graduate school at Princeton, Caltech, Cambridge, or Harvard for astronomy or astrophysics. If selected as a 2014 Goldwater Scholarship recipient, Mondrik said the first word to come to mind would be “ecstatic.” He said, “To have all my hard work over these past three years would mean a lot…” Mondrik continued, “It’s one thing to say that hard work is its own reward, but a little recognition goes a long way.”
Goldwater nominee Amelie Berger is a junior environmental geoscience student from Paris, France. Berger is pursuing a degree in Environmental Geoscience with minors in both meteorology and oceanography. She is involved in the Honors Fellows Program and the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program where she wrote her thesis on characterizing throughfall heterogeneity in a tropical pre-montane cloud forest in Costa Rica.
Berger has conducted research with the Oceanography department, the Geosciences department, and as an REU Intern in Costa Rica. She is a member of the American Association of Geographers, the Environmental Issues Committee, and a volunteer at the Oceanography Institute of Paris. In the future, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree and PhD. in climate science and sustainability, and to conduct research and teach at the university level.
Berger wanted to thank the professors who have contributed to her Goldwater application and now nomination process. She said, I am so thankful for Dr. Frauenfeld, Dr. Cahill, Dr. Thomas, Dr. Biggs, and Dr. Garcia for their supporting letters. I probably would not have even applied without Dr. Biggs telling me I should consider it, and Dr. Frauenfeld selflessly took the time to help me make my application competitive. I feel extremely lucky to be surrounded by supportive and dedicated faculty members!”
The final Goldwater nominee, William Linz, is a mathematics student from Temple, Texas. Linz is a University Honors Student and Undergraduate Research Scholar at Texas A&M. Linz has been following national scholarships since his high school academic career and consistently found Goldwater to be an excellent opportunity for math, science, and engineering students like himself. He began with an online application and an expository essay detailing his research work before submitting to a national Goldwater representative.
Linz is also an executive board member of Explorations, the Undergraduate Research Journal of Texas A&M University, and he is President of Aggie Quiz Bowl. In the future, he plans to continue his research work at Texas A&M and to attend graduate school for mathematics. If Linz were to be chosen as a Goldwater Scholar he said he would be extremely pleased. He said, “I would thank all who have helped me up to this point, and I would use the scholarship as an impetus to work even harder in research mathematics.”
Honors and Undergraduate Research is extremely proud of Jack Reid, Nick Mondrik, Amelie Berger, and William Linz for all of their outstand achievements as nominees for the Goldwater Scholarship. We wish them the best of luck through out the remainder of the selection process!