All four Iowa State Goldwater Scholarship applicants selected for national award

Four Iowa State University Honors students with ties to the College of Engineering received Goldwater Scholarships in March. The program is the nation’s premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.

The students—Jacob Harry, senior in aerospace engineering; William Lindemann, senior in materials science engineering and mathematics; Rachel Philiph, senior in materials science engineering; and Thomas Knief, senior in physics—were four of 283 scholars selected from a pool of 1,166 applicants nationwide.

Universities may nominate up to four candidates for the national competition, and this is the first time all four Iowa State candidates were selected. Students are chosen through a campus competition before competing at the national level.

“I think it speaks volumes to this institution as a whole,” said Harry, adding that he now knows three of the smartest students on campus. Harry will do an internship at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama over the summer, where he would like to work after obtaining a Ph.D.

With a growing interest in space, Harry has been working at the Asteroid Deflection Research Center for a year and a half. He hopes to work with nuclear propulsion, which is needed for travel to other planets—something he believes will happen in the future.

The two-step process to becoming a Goldwater Scholar takes about five months and is a time-consuming endeavor for those competing for the scholarship, demonstrating the hard work and dedication of its recipients.

“This award will serve as a reminder of my obligation to the people who helped me, and it will motivate me to continue working, so that one day I may provide those same opportunities for other people,” said Lindemann, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in materials science and teach at a university.

Lindemann came to Iowa State for chemical engineering but discovered his interest in materials science after working at the Ames Laboratory. “Once I saw the passion of the members of my current department, I was sold.”

The prestigious award has more than a monetary value to the students. For Philiph, it’s validation that she has chosen the right field. “It’s just another level of encouragement to be recognized for the work I’ve already done and for the potential they see in me,” she said.

Philiph plans to attend grad school and stay in materials science. After working in biomaterials at Iowa State and in MIT’s electrical engineering department on nanofabrication, she hopes to work with both biomaterials and electronics.

Goldwater applicants worked extensively with Dana Schumacher from the University Honors Program and with their research mentors.

Although Knief studies physics, he performs research in the materials science department. “Physics covers a broad range of topics that overlap with many of those presented in the MSE department,” he said, adding that he’s grateful to have worked with many professors in both the engineering and physics departments.

“The Goldwater has shown me that I have a large group of people around me who all want to see me succeed. These people have played a major role in molding me into the person I am today,” said Knief.

Read the Iowa State University News Service story here.