posted April 1, 2009

Four Hope Students Receive Goldwater Recognition

Four Hope College science students - as many as colleges and universities were invited to nominate - have received national recognition from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Juniors Mark Lunderberg of Grandville and Blair Williams of Fenton have each received Goldwater Scholarships for the 2009-10 academic year, out of only 278 awarded nationwide.  Juniors Joel Blok of Schoolcraft and Paul Frybarger of Muskegon have each received honorable mention, out of only 175 students to be accorded the recognition.

"It is a tremendous accomplishment for our students to have been recognized by the Goldwater Foundation in this way," said Dr. Moses Lee, who is dean for the natural and applied sciences and professor of chemistry at Hope.  "It also demonstrates the high quality of our programs in the natural and applied sciences, particularly our focus on learning by doing through undergraduate research."

The scholarships were awarded by the Board of Trustees of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to undergraduate sophomores and juniors.  The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,097 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

The scholarships are for one or two years, depending on the recipient's year in school, and cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Several Hope College students have received the prestigious awards or honorable mention in the program through the years.  During the current 2008-09 school year, three senior chemistry majors hold Goldwater Scholarships:  Kristin Dittenhafer of Midland, Jonathan Moerdyk of Paris and Amy Speelman of Darien, Ill.

° Lunderberg is majoring in both biology and chemistry.  He has been conducting interdisciplinary physics research with Dr. Paul DeYoung, who is the Kenneth G. Herrick Professor of Physics, and Dr. Graham Peaslee, who is professor of chemistry and chairperson of the department, and a professor of geology/environmental science.  He plans to pursue either a medical doctorate or a dual M.D./Ph.D. program. He is the son of Jon and Marla Lunderberg of Grandville, and a 2006 graduate of Grandville High School.

° Williams is majoring in mechanical engineering.  He conducted research last summer on modeling bicycle dynamics with Dr. Tim Pennings, professor of mathematics, work that is now the basis of research with Dr. Miguel Abrahantes, assistant professor of engineering, to create a stability-control system that will enable a bicycle to move down a road autonomously without falling over.  He plans to pursue a doctorate in mechanical control systems and hopes to work for a leading aerospace corporation such as NASA. He is the son of Darlene Williams of Fenton and Robert Williams of Belleville, and a 2006 graduate of Flint Powers Catholic High School.

° Blok is majoring in engineering.  He has been conducting research with Dr. Jeff Brown, assistant professor of engineering, in sustainable structural reinforcement options, using infrared thermography to examine reinforced concrete beams - such as those used in highway bridges - reinforced by fiber reinforced polymer composites.  He plans to pursue a graduate degree in civil or structural engineering and work in addressing infrastructure solutions. He is the son of Thomas and Joan Blok of Schoolcraft, and a 2006 graduate of Plymouth Christian High School.

° Frybarger is majoring in biology and chemistry.  He has been conducting research with Dr. Aaron Best, assistant professor of biology and Towsley Research Scholar, and Dr. Matthew DeJongh, associate professor of computer science and Towsley Research Scholar, related to using the computer to develop genome-scale metabolic models.  He plans to pursue a doctorate in computational biology and conduct research at an academic level. He is the son of James and Carol Frybarger of Muskegon and Jody Frybarger of Jackson, and a 2005 graduate of NorthMuskegonHigh School.

Of the 278 students selected for Goldwater Scholarships this year, 163 are men and 115 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective.  A total of 30 are mathematics majors, 190 are science and related majors, 51 are majoring in engineering and seven are computer science majors.  Many have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering and computer disciplines.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on Nov. 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.

Since it was established, the foundation has awarded 5,801 scholarships worth approximately $56 million.  The Trustees plan to award about 300 scholarships for the 2010-11 academic year.

In addition to Hope, the colleges and universities in Michigan with 2009-10 Goldwater Scholars include Calvin College, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.