Drake University students John Emmons and Adam Riesselman are recent recipients of the Goldwater Foundation Scholarship award, a prestigious scholarship for students pursuing careers in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering. Emmons and Riesselman were selected from more than 1,000 students nominated nationwide. Additionally, Zachary Kadow, also a Drake student, received an honorable mention.
Congress established the Goldwater Foundation Scholarship in 1986 in honor of Senator Barry M. Goldwater. The scholarship was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering.
“John, Adam, and Zachary are all well-rounded individuals with outstanding records of accomplishments with their classes, research, extracurricular activities, and community service,” says Gholam Mirafzal, professor of chemistry at Drake University. “They are well-deserving of this recognition.”
Mirafzal serves as the Drake faculty representative for the Goldwater Scholarship. He works closely with student candidates on their award applications and supports them in their research efforts.
John Emmons, a sophomore physics, math, and computer science triple major, is planning to conduct research in industry, encompassing multiple areas of electronics, computer science, and physics with the hope of developing novel solutions to problems in computing. Emmons will receive $15,000 for the 2013-2015 academic years.
“The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award for future scientists, mathematicians, and engineers—so, being selected as a sophomore student was an incredible honor,” Emmons says. “My success was in large part a result of an extraordinary amount of work by many Drake faculty members, but especially Professors Kilpatrick, Urness, Langford, and Mirafzal. If it weren’t for these professors’ support and the resources for undergraduate research at Drake, I could not have attained this distinction.”
Adam Riesselman, a junior chemistry and biochemistry, cell & molecular biology double major, is planning to conduct research in the field of genetics in an industrial or academic setting to sustainably increase agricultural yields that not only improve soil structure and quality, but also to provide a nutritionally balanced energy source. Riesselman will receive $7,500 for the 2013-2014 academic year.
“I would like to thank everyone at Drake University and other research institutions I have worked with for their continued guidance and commitment to my future,” says Riesselman. “I feel that Dr. Mirafzal—and the other professors at Drake University—always have the students' best intention in mind and are providing the 21st century skills to become leaders now and in the future.”
Zachary Kadow, a junior chemistry and biochemistry, cell & molecular biology double major, is planning to conduct research in the field of physiology with specialization in cardiology. Kadow will be pursuing an M.D. and Ph.D. program, where he will conduct research while studying medicine and receive both degrees at the same time.
Mirafzal says universities are allowed to nominate four undergraduate students for the Goldwater Foundation Scholarship each year. The application process is highly competitive, and the award is widely considered the most prestigious of its kind in the nation.
Visit www.act.org/goldwater/index.html for more information about the Goldwater Scholarship.