Purdue students earn prestigious Goldwater scholarships

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University students Justin Copenhaver, Jack Dorman, and Dalton Stanley have earned the Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s preeminent scholarship for undergraduates in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering.

Congress established the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation in 1986. The highly competitive award offers up to $7,500 toward tuition, fees and board to sophomores and juniors seeking research careers. All three of this year’s Purdue recipients are juniors.

“In Purdue’s College of Science, we meet students where they are in terms of interests and skills,” said Dennis Minchella, associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Science.  “We encourage them to find undergraduate research opportunities and faculty mentors who foster their development as researchers and scholars. These three students exemplify the kind of learning that occurs with this distinctly student-centered approach. We can’t wait to see what new discoveries they will bring to their fields.”

Rhonda Phillips, Dean of Purdue’s Honors College, said, “We take inspiration from these students and are thrilled to see the world-changing initiatives they are pursuing. Undergraduate research is key to the successes of these students and underlines how crucial it is for student scholarship.” 

Justin Copenhaver

Justin Copenhaver, from Russiaville, Indiana, is a student in the College of Science with majors in physics and mathematics. He has been involved with numerous undergraduate research projects as a student, especially work with quantum computers. He looks forward to developing applications of quantum computers, from drug research to artificial intelligence algorithms.

“While conducting this research, I realized the immense applicability of quantum computers to nearly every other branch of science and how the development of quantum computers and quantum algorithms is very much a multidisciplinary undertaking, combining knowledge from several different fields within and outside of physics,” he said. “Such rich variety of academic material and potential applications is what makes quantum computers so interesting to me and is why I will continue to conduct research on them in the future.”

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Jack Dorman

Jack Dorman, from Shelbyville, Kentucky, is a student in the College of Science and the Honors College with two majors – one in microbiology and one in cell, molecular, and developmental biology. His undergraduate research has had both depth and breadth, having collaborated with researchers from five continents. His focus has been on infectious diseases since before the pandemic, although it has highlighted the importance of that field of study.

“I had been interested in infectious disease since middle school, and microbiology came to the forefront of my interests after my first research experience in high school with bacteriophage,” he said. “However, my path was further refined to emergent pathogens after attending a seminar on the ecology of Hendra viruses in Australia.  It demonstrated to me that this was an area I could actively engage with and contribute to.”

Dalton Stanley

Dalton Stanley, from West Lafayette, Indiana, is a student in the College of Science with a major in chemistry. He is particularly interested in researching lanthanide and actinide synthesis and separations, research that is aimed at recycling nuclear waste components.  He hopes further research in this area can be used to more effectively combat climate change.

“Chemistry is my outlet for assisting in structural changes to our energy sources that will lower our impact on atmospheric pollution,” he said. “That’s why I want to study nuclear power, which is a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, but it generates high-level waste. To create a proper separation technique for these compounds, we need to establish a swath of foundational work that has not been done yet, due to the novelty of the field.”

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Students who pursue Goldwater Scholarships participate in a competitive, campuswide process through Purdue’s National and International Scholarships Office to select Purdue’s nominees for this national honor. The office is housed in Honors College and works with Purdue’s aspiring Goldwater applicants in the fall of each year.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

Writer, Media contact: Logan Judy, ljudy@purdue.edu

Source: Rosanne Altstatt, altstatt@purdue.edu

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