Two UT Undergraduates Win Goldwater Scholarships

 

KNOXVILLE — Two University of Tennessee, Knoxville, undergraduates have been named 2010 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars.

Michael Jungwirth and Nathan Stebbins, both juniors, will receive scholarships from the Goldwater Foundation for their final year at UT. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships are awarded yearly to sophomores and juniors who are pursuing careers in research in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

2010 Goldwater Scholarship Awardees (left to right) Nathan Stebbins, Lauren Johnson, and Michael Jungwirth.

This year, the Goldwater Foundation awarded 278 scholarships from an applicant pool of 1,111 undergraduate students across the U.S.

Four-year institutions, like UT, are allowed to nominate four students each year to the competition. This year, eight undergraduates at UT applied for the university’s nomination through the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships.

In addition to Jungwirth and Stebbins, UT student Lauren Johnson, also a junior, was recognized by the Goldwater Foundation and received an honorable mention.

UT’s success this year with the Goldwater competition matches that of Vanderbilt and Duke, both of which also received two scholarships and one honorable mention.

Rebekah Page, assistant director of the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, said the quality of UT candidates has increased each year.

“This is a testament to the strength of UT’s programs in math, sciences and engineering and shows how well our students can perform at the national level, especially when they have the opportunity to conduct research with some of our top faculty,” Page said.

Jungwirth, a College Scholars major from Knoxville, currently is conducting research in neurobiology under the guidance of Rose Goodchild in the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology. He has been working in Goodchild’s lab since his freshman year and plans to pursue a medical degree and doctorate after he graduates from UT next year. Last year, as a sophomore, Jungwirth was nominated for a Goldwater Scholarship and received an honorable mention.

Stebbins, a biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology major from Hendersonville, currently is conducting research on cancer biology in the lab of Sundar Venkatachalam. Like Jungwirth, Stebbins has been working steadily in the lab since his freshman year. After graduation, Stebbins plans to pursue a medical degree and doctorate and conduct research in stem cell biology.

Johnson, a double major in chemistry and chemical engineering from Dickson, currently is conducting research on photobiological hydrogen production at the UT Sustainable Energy Education & Research Center in the joint labs of Paul Frymier and Barry Bruce. She is also president of the UT chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. After graduation, she plans to pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering and conduct research in renewable energy technology.

As further evidence of the importance of undergraduate research at UT, all three students serve on the editorial board of Pursuit: The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee. The inaugural issue of the journal was recently released during the Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement, in which Johnson, Jungwirth and Stebbins all competed.

Students who are interested in competing in next year’s Goldwater competition should contact the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, whose purpose is to aid students in competing for nationally competitive undergraduate and post-graduate scholarships.

Page said she hopes UT students will continue to succeed in the Goldwater competition as they have in recent years.

“In 2008, we received three scholarships and one honorable mention, and last year we received an honorable mention. This year the competition was even tougher, and we still received two scholarships and one honorable mention. I know we can continue this trend given the excellent work being done by the undergraduates in our STEM departments,” she said.

For 2011-2012, the Goldwater Foundation plans to award about 300 scholarships. Since its inception, the Goldwater Foundation has awarded 6,079 scholarships worth about $58 million. This year’s recipients will receive up to $7,500 each.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu)

Be Sociable, Share!