Newswise — AMES, Iowa — Four Iowa State University students have received Goldwater Scholarships, the nation's premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.

The scholarships are awarded by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in STEM research. A total of 496 Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,223 applicants nationwide.

This is the third time in the last decade that all four ISU Goldwater candidates have been selected as scholars. Iowa State also had four Goldwater Scholars in 2017 and 2014. This year, Iowa State is one of only 20 institutions — including Yale, Stanford, Duke and Ohio State — to have all nominees selected as scholars.

Iowa State candidates are selected through an on-campus competition coordinated by the ISU Honors Program. Universities can nominate up to four candidates for the national competition.

Iowa State’s 2019 Goldwater Scholars are:

  • Jacqueline Blaum, a junior in physics and computer science from Bettendorf, will pursue a Ph.D. in astrophysics. She plans to conduct research in astrophysics and cosmology — in particular studying the phenomenon of “dark energy” — at a national laboratory or other research institute.
  • Atte Kadoma, a junior in materials engineering from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, will pursue a Ph.D. in materials engineering. Kadoma will combine her passions for science and helping people by developing wearable health monitoring technologies, as well as mentoring students in scientific research at the university level.
  • Nikita Kozak, a junior in mechanical engineering from Waukee, will pursue a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. He plans to establish his own multidisciplinary research group focused on engine design and computational modeling approaches at a national laboratory.
  • Matthew Ryan, a junior in chemistry from Rochester, Minnesota, will pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry. He will perform research on solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic methods and instrumentation in order to solve molecular-level structural problems.

The one-year scholarships are available to juniors and the two-year scholarships are available to sophomores. They cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. 

All four Goldwater Scholars got their start in research through the ISU Honors First-Year Mentor Program, which exposes students to research during their second semester on campus.

Iowa State’s Goldwater Scholarship Campus Committee included Kent Kerby, adjunct associate professor of genetics, development and cell biology and assistant dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Gloria Starns, senior lecturer in mechanical engineering; Amy Andreotti, the Roy J. Carver Endowed Chair and University Professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology; Svitlana Zbarska, undergraduate research program coordinator for the Honors Program; and Kevin Schalinske, professor of food science and human nutrition.