Three Undergraduates Honored by Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program

Cecilia Gentle, a junior majoring in chemistry, and Sarah Millholland, a junior majoring in physics and applied mathematics, have been awarded a 2014-15 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Junior biology major Erik Sathe was given an honorable mention.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater (R-Ariz.), who had served 30 years in the U.S. Senate. The program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. This year the program awarded 283 scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States.

Dr. Kyle Zimmer, associate professor of biology who is St. Thomas’ Goldwater program chair, said, “The Goldwater Scholarship is a national competition and is one of the most competitive, prestigious awards an undergraduate in the STEM fields can receive."

Gentle, a St. Michael, Minn., native, said, "As a research chemist or a professor at a research institution, I hope to lead and mentor teams in the development of new materials, such as materials for solar cell technology. Overall, I hope to contribute to solving world problems such as the global search for feasible renewable energy." After she graduates, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in materials chemistry, and is leaning toward a career in academia or as a research chemist in industry.

Millholland, a physics and applied mathematics double major from Madison, Wis., said, "Although I am unsure exactly which area of research I plan to pursue, I am interested in the application of computationally intensive modeling techniques to the field of quantum cosmology. This field involves the study of quantum mechanical descriptions of the formation and evolution of the early universe." After graduation she'd like to attend graduate school in astrophysics or particle physics and someday teach at the university level.

Sathe, of Hopkins, Minn., plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, conduct research in biomedical science and teach at the university level.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,166 mathematics, science, computer science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. A total of 172 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 seven 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.

Recent Goldwater scholars have been awarded 80 Rhodes Scholarships, 117 Marshall Awards, 112 Churchill Scholarships and numerous other distinguished fellowships. Since 1998, 23 St. Thomas students (including Gentle and Millholland) have received Goldwater Scholarships.

Since 1989, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has awarded 7,163 scholarships worth approximately $46 million.

For more information about the Goldwater Scholarships, contact Zimmer, (651) 962-5244.