Prestigious Goldwater Scholarships Awarded for Undergraduate Research

April 5, 2013

Three Harvey Mudd College juniors have received the most prestigious national award for undergraduate researchers in science, mathematics and engineering.

Samuel Gutekunst ’14, a mathematics major, and Sheena Patel ’14, a physics major, have been awarded Goldwater Scholarships for the 2013-2014 academic year, it was announced by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation in March. Andrew Patrick Turner ’14, a mathematics and physics major, received an honorable mention.

All college sophomores and juniors are eligible to compete for the scholarships, which provide a maximum of $7,500 each year for one or two years to cover tuition, fees, books and room and board. Each year, HMC nominates up to four students for the Goldwater Scholarship Program. The Department Chairs Committee serves as the nominating body.

The 271 Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. One hundred seventy-six of the scholars are men, 95 are women and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective.

“The HMC community is delighted that Samuel and Sheena have been named Goldwater Scholars and that Andrew received an honorable mention,” said Jeff Groves, vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty. “We have a long institutional history with the Goldwater Scholarship Program. In the last 10 years, 16 of our students have been recognized by the program as outstanding young researchers and leaders. Harvey Mudd College is honored to participate.”

Samuel Gutekunst '14
Samuel Gutekunst ’14

Gutekunst has worked with mathematics Professor Michael Orrison and David Lingenbrink ’14 on a research project involving voting theory. “This project, and the exciting voting theory it exposed us to,  formed the basis for my personal statement and Goldwater application. HMC Professor Dagan Karp and East Tennessee State University mathematics Professor Anant Godbole have also helped me to develop significantly as a researcher and mathematician. I do not think I would have had any chance at winning this award without the enthusiasm, support and knowledge of these three professors.” Gutekunst has served as an HMC Honor Board representative, tutored students from his hometown via Skype, participated in the Catholic Pastoral Council meetings and was an orientation sponsor for the Class of 2015. He is interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics and eventually teaching and doing research at the university level.

Sheena Patel '14
Sheena Patel ’14

Since her first year, Patel has worked in the magnetism research group with physics professors James Eckert and Patricia Sparks. She presented her research on thin-film multilayers of cobalt and nickel last year at the International Conference on Magnetism in South Korea. “I love the research I do and it is exciting to see that other people think this is meaningful work,” she said. “Professors Eckert and Sparks have given me the opportunity to find a research project that I find really interesting and learn not only about these magnetic materials, but about how to be a research scientist.”

Andrew Turner '14
Andrew Turner ’14

Turner has been active in both academic and extracurricular activities at HMC. He interned at Los Alamos National Laboratories, where he worked on modeling the fluid and thermodynamics of laser chemical vapor deposition. As the recipient of a Fletcher Jones Fellowship through the Claremont Center for the Mathematical Sciences, Turner explored supercharacter theory. He is co-author of the paper “Supercharacters, exponential sums, and the uncertainty principle,” which has been submitted for publication. He is a member of the Claremont Chamber Choir and has participated in the HMC Jazz Band, PRISM and Burgers with Bill Gates. Turner also founded DrySHMC, which provides alternatives to drinking parties. He intends to pursue a Ph.D. in physics.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The 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. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.