Goldwater ScholarsGAMBIER, Ohio (April 9, 2009)
Kenyon students James Beckett '11 and Daniel Franz '10 have been named Goldwater Scholars by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.
Beckett of Mount Vernon, Ohio, and Franz of Rochester, New York, are among 278 undergraduates in the United States who earned the scholarship of up to $7,500 for the 2009-10 academic year. Students are selected based on academic merit for the award, which is one of the nation's most prestigious honors for undergraduates in the sciences.
Beckett is a sophomore chemistry major. His research included work as a Kenyon Summer Science Scholar in 2007 ("Synthesis of Pyrazines Putatively Involved in Ant-Butterfly Mutualisms") and in 2008 ("Progress Toward the Synthesis of Two Novel Fluorophore Appended Cationic Steroid Antibiotics"), working in both cases with John Hofferberth, assistant professor of chemistry. Chemistry, Beckett said, is "interesting and elegant and a lot of fun."
His pursuit of the Goldwater scholarship was boosted, he said, by his research. "Kenyon has provided me with all the opportunities I could want," he said. His goal is to pursue advanced degrees and to continue to do research in the academic setting with a focus in drug design.
Franz is a junior mathematics major with an interest in algebra and number theory. "Mathematics has always come easy to me," he said. "One of the things I really like is the problem-solving aspect. When you finally do solve a problem it's very exciting. It's a thrill sometimes."
His mentor at Kenyon is Judy Holdener, department chair, associate professor of mathematics, and John B. McCoy - Bank One Distinguished Teaching Professor. Holdener and other members of the mathematics faculty "know what they're doing," Franz said. "They're very approachable. It's a credit to Kenyon that it's prepared me for this. I'm really proud that I could achieve something like this."
Christian Hinderer '10 of Urbana, Ohio, and Ben Kester '10 of Lancaster, Ohio, earned honorable mentions.
The Goldwater Scholars this year were selected from a field of 1,097 nominated nationwide. Based in Springfield, Virginia, the Goldwater foundation was endowed by the federal government in 1986. The scholarship program is designed to support outstanding students in their pursuit of careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.