Three WPI Students Earn Goldwater Scholarships

WPI Among Harvard, MIT and Yale for Most New England Recipients

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5706

WORCESTER, Mass. – June 14, 2004 – Three students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) were among a select group of 310 undergraduate sophomores and juniors from around the United States to be named Goldwater Scholars for the 2004-2005 academic year by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. WPI juniors Matthew J. Black and David J. LeRay, and sophomore Helen A. Hanson each received the award in recognition of exceptional academic merit and commitment to careers in mathematics, science and engineering. In all of New England, only Harvard, MIT and Yale had more Goldwater recipients than WPI this year.

The 2004 Goldwater Scholars were selected from a field of 1,113 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by faculty members of colleges and universities nationwide. One hundred sixty-one of this year's scholars are men, 149 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Each recipient will receive a one- or two-year Goldwater Scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

"WPI has made significant strides over the past decade with the number of students receiving national merit scholarships," says Peter H. Hansen, associate professor of history and advisor of undergraduate awards. "The first Goldwater Scholarship was awarded to a WPI student in 1995, and the number of recipients has grown considerably. This is certainly remarkable for a university of our size."

Matthew Black is a chemical engineering major from Bridgewater, Mass. He plans to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, focusing on biomaterials and their applications in drug delivery. At WPI, Black has done undergraduate research on the effects of cranberry juice on molecular-level adhesion of mutants of E. coli. Last fall at WPI's Zurich Project Center, he studied the impact of the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research on the community of Davos. He has been a peer learning assistant at WPI, and a member of the Alpine ski and men's tennis teams.

Helen Hanson, a sophomore engineering-physics major from Middletown, Conn., plans a Ph.D. in physics and to do research on nanotechnology. Hanson has conducted research in the area of light-scattering spectroscopy and polymers. She will do an academic project in Melbourne, Australia next spring. On campus, she is treasurer of the Global Awareness of Environmental Activities (GAEA), a peer learning assistant in math and physics courses, and a member of the women's varsity cross-country and track teams.

David LeRay, a double-major in mechanical engineering and mathematics from Everett, Mass., plans to pursue a Ph.D. in applied mathematics and to carry out research in fluid mechanics. At the MIT Lincoln Laboratory last fall, LeRay researched and developed a steerable antenna mechanism for spacecraft. He was also part of a WPI team that received a meritorious rating at the 2003 COMAP (Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications) Mathematical Contest in Modeling. He recently completed an academic project working with the City of Boston's Environment Department. He has been a math peer learning assistant and president of the WPI Math Club. He also plays in the campus jazz group and sings with the Glee Club and the a cappella group Simple Harmonic Motion.

This year's three recipients join Ann C. Skulas '05, Ravi Srinivasan '04, and Jack N. Waddell '03 as the most recent Goldwater Scholars from WPI.

More information about the Goldwater Scholarship is available from the WPI Fellowships and Scholarships Web site: www.wpi.edu/Academics/FS/.

About the Goldwater Foundation

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry M. 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.

The Foundation, in its sixteen-year history, has awarded 4,272 scholarships worth approximately forty-two million dollars. The Trustees plan to award about three hundred scholarships for the 2005-2006 academic year.