posted April 17, 2001

NSF Graduate Fellowship

Hope College senior Jordan R. Schmidt of Eagan, Minn., has received a highly-competitive Graduate Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

It is the fourth time in five years that a current Hope student has received one of the awards. A total of six Hope seniors or recent graduates have been recognized in the program this year: three with fellowships, and three with "Honorable Mention."

"The NSF Graduate Fellowship is one of the most prestigious and highly-sought honors to which a young scientist can aspire," said Dr. James Gentile, who is dean for the natural sciences and the Kenneth G. Herrick Professor of Biology at Hope. "To have six of our students and/or graduates receive awards, or honorable mentions, this year speaks well of them, of the faculty who trained them and our program."

The fellowships are awarded to students pursuing doctorates in the sciences, and only approximately 900 were awarded nationwide. The fellowships pay tuition and fees of up to $10,500 and a stipend of $18,000 each year for three years.

In addition to Schmidt, two members of last year's Class of 2000 received awards this year: Caroline Diaz, who is doing graduate work in chemistry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; and Annalise Van Wyngarden, who is doing graduate work in chemistry at the University of California-Berkeley.

The three seniors or recent graduates who received "Honorable Mention"  recognition are: Christopher Cappa, a 2000 graduate now doing graduate work in chemistry at the University of California-Berkeley; Dana Jensen, a 1997 graduate now doing graduate work at the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Julia Koeppe, a senior from Fayetteville, Ark., who will attend graduate school in chemistry in California.

Schmidt is majoring in chemistry, mathematics and physics, and plans to pursue a doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of Chicago. His graduate award tops a particularly distinguished undergraduate career, according to his advisor, Dr. William F. Polik of the chemistry faculty.

"J.R. has been our top student in chemistry for each of the last four years," Polik said. "In addition to excelling in his classes, J.R. has been extremely creative in his undergraduate research. He has invented a World Wide Web interface to computational chemistry that is now in use at over 100 colleges, universities and companies."

In the spring of 2000, Schmidt received one of only 309 Goldwater Scholarships awarded nationwide in support of undergraduates for the 2000-01 school year based on academic merit.

He was recently named to the college's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and has consistently been named to the Dean's List. He has also received several honors at the college through the years, including the Junior Chemistry Journal Award; the Organic Chemistry Book Award to the Outstanding Student in Organic Chemistry; the John H. Kleinheksel Mathematics Award; and a Beckman scholarship for school-year and summer research.

He is the son of Craig and Linda Schmidt of Eagan.  He is a 1997 graduate of Eagan High School.