U of A Students Named as Goldwater Scholars, Udall Honorable Mentions

Top, from left: Tyler Bishop, Austin Kreulach; bottom: Meagan Olsen.
Photos Submitted

Top, from left: Tyler Bishop, Austin Kreulach; bottom: Meagan Olsen.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Three University of Arkansas honors students have been named 2019 Goldwater Scholars, an award for top students in mathematics, science, and engineering. They will each receive a scholarship of up to $7,500 from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship Foundation.

The newest U of A Goldwater Scholars are:

  • Tyler Bishop of Fayetteville, a junior honors physics and astronomy major
  • Austin Kreulach, of Bentonville, a junior honors computer and information science and engineering major
  • Meagan Olsen of Fayetteville, a sophomore honors chemical engineering major

“The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes exceptional students who are asking important questions in their fields,” said Chancellor Joe Steinmetz. “Tyler, Austin, and Meagan are just such students. All three have engaged actively in a variety of research projects. They already have among them five published papers, four submitted or in-progress publications, and a list of presentations. This is simply remarkable. Kudos go to them and also to the faculty who are supporting their efforts. Student and faculty research partnerships are at the center of the University of Arkansas’ mission. These students are planning careers in research, and they will go on to mentor others in turn. Though these three students received the scholarships, we all win from this cycle of discovery.”

More than 5,000 students competed nationwide for the Goldwater Scholarship this year. It is the nation’s most prestigious award for undergraduate students who plan doctoral studies and research careers in the fields of math, science, and engineering. 

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship was established by Congress in 1986 to honor the United States senator. 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. Universities and colleges may nominate up to four students each year.


2019 U of A Goldwater Scholars


"It is an honor to be selected as a Goldwater Scholar and to receive this most prestigious award,”said Bishop. “I have conducted research under Dr. Salvador Barraza-Lopez since my freshman year, and it has been an exciting, frustrating, eye-opening, and rewarding experience. My research experience here at the University of Arkansas has been fundamental to shaping my goals of becoming a physicist and physics professor. With this award I will continue to pursue advanced studies in physics and perform research on fascinating and exotic materials. I hope that my research in and contributions to the field of materials science will help pave the way for new technologies and devices in the future."

Bishop’s research focuses on investigating phase transition in two dimensional materials, which could have applications in the engineering and manufacture of nanoscale devices. He is listed as first author in an article that has recently been accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters, and he presented his work at the 2019 American Physical Society Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. Bishop has been active on campus in the Society of Physics Students, volunteering for the Fall Physics Laboratory, an outreach program that brings hands-on physics to children in the community. He has also received the Arkansas Distinguished Governor’s Scholarship, the Robert Mauer Scholarship, and the David Johnson and Wilda McMurry Honors College Fellowship.

“Tyler continues to be a dedicated researcher that sets the bar high concerning how research is to be carried out,” said Barraza-Lopez, associate professor of physics.  “He is producing results that more senior members of the team once deemed to be impossible."


"The Goldwater Scholarship is an amazing honor, and I am beyond delighted to be included in this wonderful company of STEM scholars,” said Kreulach. “I greatly appreciate all the support I have received from the University of Arkansas, particularly from research mentor Dr. Chase Rainwater and from my current research mentors Dr. Matthew Patitz and Dr. Wing Ning Li. This simply would not have happened without them, or the host of brilliant people who supported me through the application process. I look forward to continuing my research and to graduate school, where I will pursue a PhD in computer science focusing on artificial intelligence."

Kreulach participated in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at Auburn University in the summer of 2018 where he focused on developing a guidance system for a drone that loses connectivity to the GPS network. He has also worked on projects that deal with artificial intelligence and with malware detection, and he has been active presenting his work. Outside the lab, he has participated in Celebrating Discovery, an outreach program that takes college student research into high schools. He is an Honors College Ambassador and a literacy volunteer. Kreulach has also received the Arkansas Governor’s Scholarship and an Honors College Fellowship as well as an Honors College Research Grant. In addition to his main focus on computer science, Austin is also interested in continuing his passion for “mathematical art” as a tool for scientific outreach and pedagogy.

“I had the pleasure of serving as Austin’s freshman research advisor,” said Chase Rainwater, associate professor of industrial engineering. “In his research, Austin investigated the role artificial intelligence can play in detecting adversarial threats in a computer network. In the end, he showed that only a few standard pieces of network data could be reliably used for real-time cybersecurity threat detection. Though young in his academic career, he was enthusiastic about learning new skills and rarely influenced by the magnitude of all that must be overcome in his research area. I expect that to continue throughout his career, and I look forward to seeing all he will accomplish.”


“I am truly honored to have been selected as a Goldwater Scholar,” said Olsen. “It is inspiring to know that the work I have done in four years of research merits this level of recognition. This award will enable me to continue in my research career and explore new academic and professional opportunities. I am passionate about developing new technologies to detect and mitigate biological and chemical disasters, as well as encouraging women and other underrepresented groups in engineering and research. The Goldwater Scholarship provides both opportunities and encouragement towards these goals.”

Olsen has published articles in both the 22nd and 24th Proceedings of the International Conference on DNA Computing and Molecular Programming and in The Journal of Natural Computing. She started work in Matthew Patitz’s lab when she was in high school. Since her freshman year she has worked in Shannon Servoss’ lab. They are currently working on a project to develop an electrochemical sensor for water contaminants using peptoid-functionalized gold nanoparticles, which is for publication as well. Olsen is a research assistant in the Department of Chemical Engineering and has served as a tutor; she has also been a notetaker through the Center for Educational Access. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Omega Chi Epsilon. She received the Arkansas Governor’s Scholarship, the James and Susan von Gremp Honors College Fellowship, and the Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF).

“Meagan has a mind for research that is highly unusual at her stage in life,” said Servoss, associate professor of chemical engineering. “She is thorough, creative, and hardworking, a unique skill set that will serve her well throughout her career. I am very excited for her and all that this award will lead to.”


These Goldwater Scholars bring the University of Arkansas total to 56, with U of A students receiving awards for 23 of the last 24 years. Previous Goldwater Scholars have gone on to become Rhodes, Marshall, Gates Cambridge, Fulbright, and Udall Scholars as well as National Science Graduate Research Fellows. They have pursued doctoral work at prestigious programs including the University of Virginia, University of Michigan, University of California-Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge University, Columbia University, Cornell University, MIT, St. Andrews (Scotland), Oxford University, Princeton University, Stanford University, and Washington University.



The Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Scholarship Foundation recognizes 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. The Foundation made honorable mention awards to two U of A students.

  • John Garrett Lampson, of Bethel Heights is a junior honors biological engineering major. He is active in the EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge, the Cycling Club, the Student Sierra Coalition, and the Bicycle Advisory Council. He plans to pursue a career in environmental restoration.
  • Tanner Weber, of Overland Park, Kansas, is a member of the Cherokee Nation and his career goal is to become a tribal attorney and work for the Cherokee Nation. He has been active in the Native American Student Association and has volunteered with the Salvation Army and the Cherokee Nation Food Pantry. He was recognized as a Udall Honorable Mention for his work related to tribal policy.

University of Arkansas students interested in applying for competitive scholarships like the Goldwater and Udall Scholarships should contact the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards at awards@uark.edu. 


Suzanne McCray, director
Office of Nationally Competitive Awards
479-575-4883, smccray@uark.edu


Researchers Receive $320,000 From NASA to Study Martian Polar Caps

U of A Researchers will study how carbon dioxide ice pits have formed and evolved over time to gain an understanding of atmospheric dynamics of Mars.

U of A Wins National Bike Month Challenge; Key Indicator in Growth of Cycling Community

Members of the U of A community bounced back from lead shattering rainstorms to clinch the national bike month challenge. A group ride on Niokaska Creek Trail will be held at 4 p.m. today.

University Partners on New COVID-19 Antibody Test and Prevalence Study

U of A researchers partner with NOWDiagnostics to conduct a study to evaluate antibody prevalence on campus using a new type of COVID-19 antibody test.

Custom and Short-Term Programs Bid 'Farewell, For Now' to Departing Exchange Students

A small group of international exchange students who, by dint of motivation, studied on the U of A campus this spring are now headed home but with plans to return soon.

U of A Honors Mentor Teachers for Vital Support of Interns

Ryan Finley of Fayetteville, Nichole Paquet-Smith of Bentonville and Adriana Rivera and John Land, both of Rogers, were named mentor teachers of the year for 2020-21.

News Daily