(BLOOMINGTON) – Just as the COVID-19 pandemic irrevocably altered their semesters, four undergraduate juniors in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington got some life-altering good news: they’d been selected to receive prestigious Goldwater Scholarships, which provide $7,500 in support during their senior year.
The College’s newest Goldwater Scholars are Joshua Beeler, Elizabeth Dietrich, Kelli Michaels, and Andrew Quest.
The four were chosen from a pool of some 1,300 candidates nominated by 461 colleges and universities. The scholarships go to exceptionally promising students in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.
This is the third time in the College’s history that all of its Goldwater nominees have won scholarships. Past recipients have gone into medicine, law, and academia. Others have become entrepreneurs. One former IU Goldwater recipient, Matthew Shephard, is now a professor of Physics in the College.
As undergraduates, the 2020 Goldwater scholars have already worked at the leading edge of research in a number of fields. They recently described their projects:
Joshua Beeler, from Kokomo, Indiana, is majoring in chemistry and working on a project developing electrode materials. He especially appreciates the freedom he has to run experiments. The graduate student he works with “gives me the big picture, but he leaves it up to me to find my own way. It’s a cool experience,” Beeler says.
Elizabeth Dietrich, from Crown Point, Indiana, has a double major in computer science and mathematics. Beginning the summer before her freshman year, she has worked in several labs at IU, including a computational cancer lab that now works on a COVID-19 model.
Kelli Michaels, a physics and math major from Bloomington, Indiana, is working on two research projects. One, led by physics professor Jim Musser, studies the composition of the cosmic rays generated when large astronomical bodies like stars collide. Michaels is also studying neutrinos under the guidance of physics professor Mark Messier.
Andrew Quest, from Mooresville, Indiana, has a dual major in chemistry and microbiology. He has been experimenting with palladium catalysis in the lab of chemistry professor Silas Cook. Quest’s next step will be to earn a doctorate in chemistry, leading toward his ultimate goal: “My dream has always been to teach and run a research lab at a university.”