Hope College juniors Seth Almquist of Plymouth, Minnesota, and Claire Benedict of Ada have each received highly competitive scholarships from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.
A total of 417 scholarships were awarded by the Board of Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, in partnership with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs, to undergraduate sophomores and juniors across the United States. The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from among 1,242 natural science, engineering and mathematics students who were nominated by 433 academic institutions out of an estimated pool of more than 5,000 students.
The scholarships are for one or two years, depending on the recipient’s year in school, and cover the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Numerous Hope students have received scholarships through the years, including several across the past decade.
Almquist is pursuing a composite major with an emphasis in environmental geochemistry, a combination of geology and chemistry classes in addition to upper-level electives leading to a Bachelor of Science degree. His career goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry and conduct research on pollutants in drinking water.
He has been conducting research, during both the school year and summer, with Dr. Jonathan Peterson, who is the Lavern '39 and Betty DePree '41 Van Kley Professor of Geology and Environmental Science. The research seeks to better understand the fate and transport of pharmaceuticals in water via their attachment to nanoparticles.
In addition to being active in collaborative research, Almquist is captain of the college’s intercollegiate golf team; a member of the Campus Ministries athletic leadership team; a member of the Sigma Gamma Epsilon, which is an environmental science honors society; and participates in intramural sports. He is a 2019 graduate of Wayzata High School.
Benedict is double-majoring in chemistry, pursing the college’s American Chemical Society-certified Bachelor of Science degree, and Spanish. Her career goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and conduct research in organometallic chemistry at a national laboratory.
She is currently participating in a spring-semester off-campus study program in Seville, Spain, during which she is working in the laboratory of Dr. Agustin Galindo, who is a member of the organic chemistry faculty at the University of Seville. She has been helping develop metal complexes derived from amino acids that have antibacterial properties.
During her freshman year and the following summer, Benedict worked with Dr. William Polik, who is the Edward and Elizabeth Hofma Professor of Chemistry, performing an in-depth analysis of laser and optical systems.
She has conducted research since her sophomore year during the school year and summer with Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, professor of chemistry and department chair, and will continue to work in his laboratory after she returns from Spain. The research has focused on reaction development using carbon-carbon bond activation, where carbon bonds are broken to create new reaction pathways.
In addition to collaborative research, her activities at Hope include tutoring, serving as a teaching assistant, playing piano, participating in bilingual activities, and the college’s intercollegiate indoor and outdoor track and field teams. She is a 2019 graduate of Forest Hills Eastern High School.
The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The Goldwater Scholarship is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields. The Goldwater Scholarship is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields.