Goldwater Scholarship Competition

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"The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields."

The award is up to $7500 per year for one or two years of undergraduate study. Applicants should be sophomores or juniors at the time of application. Students cannot apply directly, but must be nominated by their institution. Each institution may nominate up to four candidates.

This is not just another "fill out a form and maybe you'll get lucky" scholarship! It is a prestigious national competition only appropriate for superior students intending to get a Ph.D. followed by a research career in the fields of science, mathematics, or engineering. It is worth applying even if you don't need the money! (See FAQ.)

For further information on the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship program, go to the official web site.


2016 Competition:

If you are a student majoring in an eligible field with sophomore or junior standing as of January 2016, and are interested in applying for the Goldwater Scholarship program, please contact Alex Wenning, (775-3752, 243 Millett) in the Honors Program and/or Richard Mercer, (775-2191, 236 MM) in Mathematics and Statistics.

We would also like to hear from faculty who wish to nominate a student from an eligible field whom they believe to be among the very best at Wright State.

The 2016 competition will use an online application process. Information and materials are now available from the Goldwater web site. We invite interested students to download the information files, register for the online portion of the application by clicking on the APPLY NOW button, and begin filling it out.

A preliminary internal application will be due Friday, November 6, 2015. This will consist of

  • A preliminary version of the online application. (just fill it out - we can read it online)
  • A first draft of the essay, submitted to the Honors Office
  • At least one letter of recommendation, from your research project advisor if you have one, submitted to the Honors Office

We will select applicants we believe to be competitive (no more than four) to be Wright State's nominees, and will help them refine their final applications. The internal deadline for the final application is January 15, 2016.


Recent Wright State Nominees
Those listed in red were awarded Goldwater scholarships. Those listed in blue were awarded Honorable Mention.

2015: Jace Robinson (Mathematics), Emma Sum (Biomedical Engineering)

2013: Mervat Elhindi (Mechanical Engineering), Nhi Lam (Chemistry), Larrilyn Yelton (Biology)

2012: Derek Boone (Computer Engineering)

2011: Brendan Eck (Physics/Mathematics)

2010: Brendan Eck (Physics/Mathematics), Zach Gault (Physics), Wesam Helou (Biomedical Engineering), Ed Velten (Electrical Engineering/Mathematics)

2009: Melissa Jones (Biomedical Engineering), Benjamin Schmitt (Biomedical Engineering)

2008: Khadijeh Alnajjar (Chemistry), James Dahlman (Biomedical Engineering), Benjamin Schmitt (Biomedical Engineering)

2007: David Beeler (Materials Science and Engineering), Scott Eilerman (Physics), Roger Fecher (Biology), John Platig (Physics)

2006: Steven Ballmer (Chemistry), Brian Birkmire (Engineering Physics)

2005: Brian Wirick (Electrical Engineering)

2004: Jessica Brown (Chemistry), Micah Fuerst (Mathematics)

2002: David Johnson (Computer Science/Mathematics)

1999: Jennifer Bebout (Biology), Deborah Maken (Psychology), Eric Pooler (Engineering Physics), Rachel Smith (Chemistry)

1998: Michael Woeste (Biology)

1986: Rebecca Hammer (Chemistry)


Q: Why should I bother if my financial aid already pays most of my expenses?
A: This is an important question because most students with a good chance of winning already have a lot of financial aid. The prestige of winning this scholarship is more important than the money. It may open opportunities for you that might otherwise not be available. You will will be taken seriously as a young scientist or engineer with high potential.

Q: What are the chances of getting this scholarship if I apply?
A: In a typical year there are about 1200 nominations submitted and 300 scholarships awarded. However we will only nominate students whose applications we believe to be competitive on the national level.

Q: What do I get if I am awarded a Goldwater Scholarship?
A: A maximum of $7500 per year toward expenses for one or two years of undergraduate study. This money is treated as another form of financial aid.

Q: Are premed or nursing students eligible?
A: Students who intend to become practicing physicians or nurses are not eligible. Students who intend to pursue research careers in many fields related to medicine, e.g. biochemistry, microbiology, biomedical engineering, are eligible. Be prepared to make a convincing case for your career plans.

Q: Are international students eligible?
A: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or U.S. national.

Q: Do I have to be involved in a research project?
A: Not in principle, but in practice, it is very difficult to prepare a competitive application without research experience.

Q: What is the minimum eligible GPA?
A: The only official requirements are that you must have at least a "B" average and be in the upper 1/4th of your class. However given the competitive nature of this scholarship program, GPAs below 3.7 will be at a disadvantage and will not be considered competitive.


last modified: February 11, 2016

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