Goldwater recipients honored by award

By Carley Thieret | The Duquesne Duke

Three Duquesne students were awarded with a scholarship that is typically given to students from Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins.

Chemistry major Benjamin Jagger, chemistry and biochemistry major Sarah Kochanek and material physics and mathematics major Claire Saunders were selected for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, the eighth most prestigious college scholarship in America, according to CBS Money Watch.

The students were chosen from a field of 1,166 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

The scholarship is sponsored by the Goldwater Foundation, honoring the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, whose mission was to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the field of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. Out of the 1,116 applicants nominated, only 283 students were chosen.

The $7,500 scholarship is intended to cover room, board, books and other intended needs for students pursuing a doctorate in the fields.

Provost Timothy Austin is thrilled that Duquesne has made a name for itself on the national stage with such a prestigious award.

“The students that come to the University get an experience that is invaluable, passed along from the experience of a skilled researcher,” Austin said.

All three Duquesne recipients said they are honored to receive the award, and they credit the quality of faculty, research and academics that Duquesne offers to its students.

“The Goldwater Scholarship is a reaffirmation of my goal to pursue a doctorate in chemistry,” Jagger said. “It provides an opportunity to attend one of the top graduate schools in my field. Duquesne’s three Goldwater Scholars are a reflection of the high quality student that Duquesne produces.”

Earning a doctorate is a common goal of many Goldwater recipients, and the funds from the award are intended to continue research that began at the undergraduate level while working towards a master’s and doctorate.

“With the support of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Honors College and the Crable Fellowship, I have been able to perform undergraduate research that has helped me to obtain this scholarship,” Kockanek said.

Kochanek credits the high amount of scholarship recipients from Duquesne to the multiple research opportunities that the University offers to its students.

Along with the two recipients from the chemistry and biochemistry programs, Saunders is the first Duquesne student to be honored as a double major, with her two degrees coming from the fields of physics and mathematics.

After an extensive application process requiring not only research but also questions and essays, Saunders said she is honored that receiving the scholarship acknowledges her hard work on her way to earning her doctorate. Her goal is to work in a national laboratory or the private sector specializing in computational material physics.