U of A Student Named Goldwater Scholar; Three More Earn Honorable Mentions

Hailey Dunsworth
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Hailey Dunsworth

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Hailey Dunsworth, an honors junior from Farmington majoring in chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas, was selected as a 2014 Goldwater Scholar. She will receive a scholarship of up to $7,500 from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship Foundation for her senior year.

The University of Arkansas nominated four students for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship for excellence in math, science and engineering; three of those students were recognized with honorable mentions: Sushanth Kumar of Fayetteville, Jonathan Mishler of Plano, Texas, and Michael West of Stillwater, Okla.

The Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, which awards scholarships to students interested in environmental issues or Native American public policy, has also recognized two U of A students with honorable mentions: Jodi Nimmo of Fayetteville and Katie Dunn of Muskogee, Okla.

“Hailey Dunsworth and all of the exceptional students recognized by the Goldwater and Udall foundations are actively engaged in research and are committed to service both on our campus and in the community. They are very deserving of this recognition,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “These students have benefitted from excellent faculty support, and they continue a tradition of competing at the highest level. This is our 19th consecutive year to have at least one Goldwater Scholar, and it is our third consecutive year to have students recognized by the Udall Foundation. We are very proud of these students and of this tradition of excellence on our campus.”

Dunsworth is one of 283 students in the nation to be named a Goldwater Scholar. She is an Honors College junior in the College of Engineering, a U of A Chancellor’s Scholar and has received both research and travel grants from the Honors College. Her research mentor is associate professor Jamie Hestekin, who holds the Jim L. Turpin Professorship in Chemical and Biochemical Separations. Dunsworth’s research focuses on reverse electrodialysis as it relates to fracking, with the goal of eliminating current environmental concerns associated with the process.

“I am both overwhelmed and honored to receive the most prestigious undergraduate research award in STEM fields,” said Dunsworth. “Being a student in the Ralph E. Martin department of chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas has definitely been an integral part of this journey. Having the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research under the advisement of Dr. Jamie Hestekin introduced me to an entirely different world. The open-endedness of the research process is incredibly exhilarating. Research can be frustrating at times, but when results finally come together it is more rewarding than I ever expected, and I look forward to making research my career.”

Dunsworth plans to pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering and would like to conduct research at a national laboratory or with a company focusing on renewable energy. Eventually she hopes to teach at a top research university and oversee her own research laboratory.

“We are very proud of Hailey Dunsworth,” said John English, dean of the College of Engineering. “She’s incredibly smart, spends an inordinate amount of time in the lab, and has an excellent mentor in Jamie Hestekin. Hailey is also curious and tenacious, a very good combination for a research scientist. She is a perfect candidate for the Goldwater. I am confident she will make an important difference in her work with renewable energy. I look forward to watching her career take off!”

Goldwater Honorable Mentions 

Sushanth Kumar is a junior honors student majoring in biomedical engineering and biochemistry. He plans to pursue medical degree in neuroscience and conduct research on autism spectrum disorders, translating those findings for treatment of children with autism. He hopes to eventually hold a position at a research hospital or major medical school, conducting research as well as teaching and practicing medicine. His research mentors are assistant professor David Zaharoff and associate professor Suresh Kumar.

Jonathan Mishler, a junior honors student majoring in mathematics and physics, plans to pursue a doctoral degree in physics with an emphasis in computational electrodynamics. He hopes to design and model new optical nanostructures and intends to pursue a research career in materials science at a prominent university. His research mentor is visiting assistant professor Joseph Herzog.

Michael West is a junior honors student majoring in both chemical engineering and physics. He plans to pursue a doctorate in atomic physics and chemistry and conduct nuclear magnetic resonance research, specifically in novel methods of probe construction and signal acquisition. His research mentor is Distinguished Professor Greg Salamo.

Udall Honorable Mentions

Katie Dunn received an honorable mention from the Udall Foundation for the second year in a row. A junior honors student majoring in landscape architecture, she is interested in city planning that revolves around sustainable practices. After years of professional practice, she plans to attend graduate school and then begin a career as a faculty member, teaching ecological practices within urban environments. Her research mentor is assistant professor Noah Billig.

Jodi Nimmo is a junior majoring in sociology and minoring in sustainability and gender studies. She has worked actively with Tri Cycle Farms. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in environmental sociology and hopes to bridge the gap between environmental issues and human rights with an organization like the National Sierra Club. Her research mentor is professor Steve Boss.

Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education program in 1986 to honor former Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, and the first scholarships were awarded in 1988. The purpose of the program is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields. Goldwater Scholars are selected from a field of more than a thousand mathematics, science and engineering students, who must be nominated by their institutions. The first University of Arkansas student to receive a Goldwater was in mathematics in 1991. The university has had a total of 49 students receive the prestigious award.

The Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Scholarship Foundation awards 50 merit-based scholarships of up to $5,000 and 50 honorable mentions to college sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated outstanding potential and a commitment to pursuing careers related to the environment. The foundation also awards scholarships to Native American college sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated outstanding potential and a commitment to careers related to tribal public policy or health care.

Contacts

Suzanne McCray, vice provost for enrollment
Director, Office of Nationally Competitive Awards
479-575-4883, smccray@uark.edu

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu

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