Third year in a row all LSU nominees are recognized by Goldwater Foundation
LSU students Brandon Oubre of Norco and Paxton Turner of Baton Rouge have been awarded the prestigious, nationally competitive Goldwater Scholarship by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, and Rachael Keller of West Monroe and Paul Koenig of Zachary received Honorable Mention.
“Our congratulations go out to these four students for being recognized on a national level by the Goldwater Foundation,” said LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander. “We also applaud them for their pursuit of degrees and careers in the STEM disciplines, and we look forward to watching their careers as they complete their studies at LSU.”
“The Honors College is exceptionally proud of these students for earning such impressive recognition on a national stage,” said LSU Honors College Dean Nancy Clark. “Their outstanding scholastic achievements in science, math and engineering are a credit to themselves and the university as a whole, and this is further proof of the academic excellence of LSU.”
Oubre is a junior pursuing a double major in computer science in the College of Engineering and mathematics in the College of Science. He is currently working in LSU’s Robotics Research Lab on the creation of a low-cost robot that can be used in the classroom to provide students with hands-on electronics and programming experience.
“We are extremely proud of Brandon’s recognition as a Goldwater Scholar,” said Rick Koubek, dean of the LSU College of Engineering. “Such success is a testament to the talents of our undergraduate students and recognition of our quality computer science program.”
Oubre is also working on a collaboration between Microsoft and LSU to develop a geometry tutoring web application system. He plans to obtain a Ph.D. in computer science and is interested in conducting research on robotics for an academic or government organization.
“Brandon is an ideal scholar, who has greatly contributed to LSU and LA-STEM,” said Isiah Warner, LSU Boyd Professor and vice chancellor of strategic initiatives. “He possesses the intellectual prowess and motivation equivalent to accomplished researchers. I am certain his work will impact the scientific community on a global level. We are extremely proud of his Goldwater recognition!”
Turner is a junior pursuing a major in mathematics in the College of Science. He is currently researching an Honors Thesis on cluster algebras with Milen Yakimov in LSU’s Department of Mathematics. Paxton has previously received National Science Foundation funding – through the Research Experience for Undergraduates program – to research cluster algebras and graph theory at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He intends to pursue a Ph.D. in pure mathematics and ultimately hopes to conduct research in number theory and combinatorics, and teach at the university level.
Keller is a junior pursuing a major in mathematical sciences in the College of Science. She plans to research coal-combustion processes with a goal of producing pollutant-dispersal models that can be used to inform policy makers on the environmental impact of various energy-extraction methods. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in atmospheric studies with a Master in Public Policy degree.
Koenig is a sophomore pursuing a major in chemistry in the College of Science. His research interests include experimental organic chemistry – specifically the synthesis of novel, useful molecules – and to that end plans to pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. He hopes to teach chemistry at the university level.
“We are extremely excited to have our students recognized nationally for their work at LSU,” said Guillermo Ferreyra, interim dean of the LSU College of Science. “Each of them exemplifies a commitment to academic excellence and achievement that will follow them throughout their academic and professional careers.”
This is the third year in a row that all of LSU’s candidates nominated to the competition were recognized by the Goldwater Foundation. All of the nominees worked closely with their faculty research mentors and the LSU Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising throughout the application process.
“We are incredibly proud of Brandon, Paxton, Rachael and Paul,” said Drew Lamonica Arms, director of fellowship advising. “This national recognition is a testament to the students’ initiative and to the outstanding undergraduate research that is happening at LSU. We hope their success encourages other students to pursue national fellowships and awards. Congratulations to all four!”
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesmen, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. The foundation’s mission is to assist undergraduate students in becoming professional scientists, mathematicians and engineers. To that end, its scholarships provide one and two-year $7,500 stipends to sophomore and junior undergraduate students pursuing research in these fields. Goldwater Scholarships are widely considered one of the most prestigious undergraduate awards available to students of the sciences.
The LSU Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising assists students in applying for prestigious undergraduate and post-graduate fellowships and scholarships. For more information about our fellowship advising resources, or to schedule an appointment, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or LA-STEM, Research Scholars Program is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Louisiana Board of Regents and managed by the Office of Strategic Initiatives at LSU.
LA-STEM admits students who show great potential to succeed in STEM areas at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and who have distinguished themselves as scholars and leaders. The Office of Strategic Initiatives looks for students who are committed to promoting diversity in the sciences in their undergraduate and graduate careers. Students are required to maintain the highest of academic standards to remain in the program. They also exemplify a strong dedication to mentoring, enthusiasm for diverse cultural experiences and a passion for serving the community.
By Ernie Ballard, LSU Media Relations, and Liz Billet, LSU Honors College