Baylor students win prestigious Goldwater Scholarships

Goldwater winners 2014 (lower-res)

Two Baylor University students have been selected to receive prestigious Goldwater Scholarships, while a third has received honorable mention recognition.

Baylor winners of 2014 Goldwater Scholarships include:

*Ian Boys, a senior University Scholar major from Allen who is concentrating in biology (shown at left in the above photo). Boys plans to earn a PhD in molecular biology, and hopes to one day conduct research in virology or immunology and teach at the university level.

*Rebecca Holden, a senior chemistry major from Allen (at center above). Holden plans to earn a PhD in chemistry. She hopes to eventually conduct research into proteins and protein misfolding diseases at a research institution and teach at the graduate level.

Boys and Holden are among 283 undergraduates from 47 states to be named 2014 Goldwater Scholars.

Baylor and five other universities in the Big 12 Conference had students win Goldwater scholarships this year, and Baylor tied with Oklahoma, Iowa State and West Virginia for the most scholarships with two each. No other Texas Big 12 schools had scholarship winners this year.

In addition, a third Baylor Arts & Sciences student, Thomas Gibson, a senior mathematics and Russian double major from Houston (at right above), has received 2014 Goldwater Scholarship honorable mention recognition. Gibson plans to earn a PhD in mathematics. He also has a goal of conducting research in numerical analysis and differential equations, and plans to study mathematical structures in physics.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater. Its purpose is “to provide a continuing sourrce of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields.”

Dr. Jeffrey S. Olafsen, associate professor of physics and Baylor’s Goldwater representative, said the 2014 results are somewhat atypical.

“Having two Goldwater scholars and an honorable mention is better than our recent average, which is typically one winner every other year,” Olafsen said. “Baylor has now produced 14 winners over the past 24 years.”

Olafsen partially attributes this year’s better-than-usual showing to an especially large and strong pool of applicants.

“I’ve been doing a lot more advertising of the opportunity, particularly in the College of Arts & Sciences, but also across the entire campus,” he said. “We’ve seen a rise in the number and quality of the students applying.”

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