By Honors and Undergraduate Research
Two Texas A&M students have been recognized for their outstanding academic achievements in physics and environmental geosciences by the Goldwater Scholarship Foundation. Nick Mondrik, a junior physics major, has been selected as a Goldwater Scholar and Amelie Berger, a junior environmental geoscience major, has been named a Goldwater Honorable Mention.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established in 1986 in honor of US Senator and Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater of Arizona. The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes college students nationwide in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, selecting approximately 300 sophomore and junior students each year. Scholarship recipients are selected based on academic excellence, research experience, and future potential.
Goldwater Scholarship Winner, Nick Mondrik, is 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 Goldwater essay on looking for outliers and variable stars in the Dark Energy Survey data. The junior physics major 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.
Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention, Amelie Berger, is a junior 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.
Texas A&M Honors and Undergraduate Research commends the outstanding achievements of Nick Mondrik and Amelie Berger. All of their hard work continues to pay off!