Four MU Students Recognized by Goldwater Scholarship Foundation

Published on April 7, 2015

The University of Missouri nominated four students—the maximum permitted—for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and all four received recognition from the Goldwater Foundation. Emily Cheng and Brendan Marsh were named Goldwater Scholars, while Kevin Bird and Ethan Zars earned Honorable Mention recognition.

The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. The Goldwater Foundation awarded 260 scholarships for the 2015–16 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors in the United States.

“To me, this scholarship is more than a financial award,” says Marsh, a sophomore from Wildwood, Missouri. “It is a confirmation that others believe in my potential as a scientist. The Goldwater Scholarship encourages me to aim higher in my academic aspirations and continue my hard work in physics research.”

Marsh is a dual major in physics and mathematics, along with minoring in computer science. After his success with the Goldwater, he plans to pursue other fellowship opportunities such as the Rhodes or Marshall Scholarships.

“What’s great about scholarships such as the Goldwater is that they build,” Marsh says. “Receiving such an award makes me a stronger candidate for future opportunities.”

Marsh’s aspirations include pursuing a doctorate in biophysics in order to conduct interdisciplinary research and unite a diverse group of researchers in the study of the biophysical sciences.

Cheng, a junior from Ballwin, Missouri is a chemical engineering major with minors in mathematics and biology. She applied for the Goldwater Scholarship after her research adviser, engineering professor Bret Ulery, suggested she would be a strong candidate because of her research experience.

“I am greatly honored to be awarded this scholarship that recognizes my achievement as an undergraduate,” Cheng says. “It is also a testament to the hard work and dedication of many of the faculty members that have made my success possible.”

Cheng tutors students and works as a residential assistant to help cover some of her expenses, but says this scholarship will relieve some of those financial burdens.

“This will allow me to devote more time to my coursework and research and give me a chance to excel further in these areas,” she says.

Cheng intends to conduct research on tissue regeneration as she works towards a doctorate in materials science and her goal of teaching at the university level.

The Goldwater Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,206 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. The one and two year scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Bird, a junior majoring in biology and philosophy, and Zars, a junior chemistry major, were not selected as scholars, but were given honorable mention recognition after being deemed exceptional applicants.

The Goldwater Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has bestowed 7,428 scholarships worth approximately $48 million.