Students named national scholars
Three UA students won Barry Goldwater Scholarships, a national award program for students in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.
The students named Goldwater Scholars are Rebecca Claus, David Deitz and Kristin Fitzgibbon.
“We were delighted to see three students named,” said Suzanne McCray, associate dean of the Honors College. “It’s always a good feeling to see good kids rewarded.”
Most Goldwater Scholars have conducted undergraduate research projects.
“All three students are doing work that will really create new information,” McCray said. “It’s not that they’re working in a lab, assisting faculty members. They have some sort of research that is all their own.”
Claus is a junior physics and mechanical engineering major from Tower City, N.D. She is a Sturgis Fellow. She is studying abroad this year in Australia. Claus is studying polymers and nanotechnology. She plans to conduct lab research geared toward environmental protection, McCray said.
Deitz is a junior biophysical chemistry and political science from Little Rock. He is also a Sturgis Fellow. He is working with anti-cancer compounds. Deitz has published his work three times and is waiting for a fourth publication, McCray said. He plans to do research and teach classes at a medical school, she said.
Fitzgibbon is a junior geology major from Little Rock. She is a Chancellor’s Scholar. She is researching plate tectonics and seismic activity in the Caribbean. The goal of the research is to be able to predict earthquakes, McCray said.
Fitzgibbon is a non-traditional student who decided to enroll at the UA after four years of working at a bank, she said. Her goals are to become a faculty member, conduct research and mentor undergraduate students.
The students will receive a $7,500 scholarship for the rest of their undergraduate careers.
Each university can nominate four students for the Goldwater Scholarship.
The UA has a selection committee of faculty to help narrow down the field of applications to only four. Committee members include Professor Roger Koeppe, Professor Margaret Guccione, Associate Professor Neil Allison and Dennis Brewer, associate vice provost for research.
“They are a smart committee,” McCray said. “They do a good job of picking students who are competitive.”
Only a handful of colleges and universities have multiple Goldwater Scholar in a year, McCray said.
“It says the [UA] prepares kids in math, science and engineering to compete on the national level,” she said. “… The kids are prepared. They have special opportunities and they’re taking advantage of those opportunities.”
The Goldwater program began in 1988 and has since awarded scholarships to more than 4,000 students. Including the three from this year, 27 UA students have been named Goldwater Scholars.