Tag: Goldwater Foundation

Lawrence’s Dworschack earns 3-year NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Willa Dworschack ’20

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Willa Dworschack ’20 is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, providing full funding for up to three years of research at any institution of her choice.

The Lawrence University physics major from Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, continues to add to her impressive resume. Following her graduation from Lawrence in June, the prestigious NSF Fellowship will fully support three years of her research in atomic, molecular, and optical physics at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA).

“The opportunity to conduct research at JILA is unparalleled, and the support of the NSF grants me freedom to pursue research in the quantum sciences,” Dworschack said. “I am thrilled about this honor and grateful for all the wonderful opportunities that I have been able to take advantage of as a result of being at Lawrence University.”

Lawrence continues to excel in the STEM fields. Details here.

The National Science Foundation is an independent agency of the federal government that supports research and education in the sciences. Its fellowship award, first launched in 1952, is given to approximately 2,000 recipients a year to support the next generation of STEM leaders as they pursue research-based master’s and doctoral degrees. 

A year ago, Dworschack was named a Goldwater Scholar, in part on the strength of her research in atomic and molecular optics. The Goldwater Scholarship, the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields, is administered by the Goldwater Foundation.

Lawrence has a Goldwater Scholar in back-to-back years. Details here.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Lawrence’s Dillon earns Goldwater award on strength of math research

Travis Dillon ’21

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University’s Travis Dillon ’21, a mathematics major who has done significant research both on and off campus, has been named a 2020 Goldwater Scholar.

This marks the second consecutive year a Lawrence student has been among the national honorees in the Goldwater program, which honors the late Sen. Barry Goldwater and was designed to foster and encourage high-achieving students in the fields of math, natural sciences, and engineering. Willa Dworschack ’20, a Lawrence physics major, was named a recipient a year ago after doing extensive research in atomic and molecular optics.

2019 Goldwater recipient earns prestigious National Science Foundation award. Details here.

Dillon is being recognized with the 2020 Goldwater award for his undergraduate research in mathematics, much of it in partnership with his Lawrence math professors.

Claire Kervin, assistant professor of English and director of Fellowships Advising at Lawrence, called Dillon a “motivated and productive” student who turned in thoughtful and well-presented work on the Goldwater application while taking part in a high-level math program in Budapest during fall and winter terms.

“He is one of the best recipients of constructive criticism I’ve seen in 15 years of assisting college writers,” Kervin said. “He is obviously deeply invested in complex research ideas, but is also capable of, even enthusiastic about, conveying these erudite concepts to others with differing levels of expertise.” 

Dillon, now back in his home state of Washington working remotely during spring term, said his research speaks to his deep love of mathematics.

“Although they have all been in mathematics, their focus varies quite a bit,” he said of his research projects. “I think it’s perhaps not widely known, but research mathematics comes in a lot of flavors. At a high level, geometry studies the properties of rigid structures, topology studies what happens when you’re allowed to bend and stretch them, number theory investigates the properties of counting numbers, which contains surprisingly deep questions and interesting questions.”

Much of Dillon’s research has focused in an area known as combinatorics, including developing a new combinatorial theory of Gaussian blur, a commonly used technique in computer science to “filter out noise from data,” and investigating symbolic dynamics. His work has taken him to Texas A&M’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), a research program sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and, most recently, to Budapest to study in the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM) program. He was to be there during spring term as well, but the COVID-19 pandemic rerouted him to his Washington home, where he is finishing the Budapest program online.

“I applied because it was recommended to me as the best mathematics study abroad program, and quite literally everyone I asked about the program had nothing but incredible praise for the program,” Dillon said of BSM.

Two of Dillon’s four undergraduate research projects have led to published papers with his professors. The other two have papers in the works.

He praised Lawrence’s math faculty for challenging and inspiring him, and highlighted his research work with Assistant Professor of Mathematics Elizabeth Sattler. He worked with her on the symbolic dynamics research.

“Our main goal was to answer a question from one of Professor Sattler’s previous projects,” Dillon said. “Over the course of the project, I introduced a much larger class of symbolic dynamical systems and answered the question in this more general setting. This was my favorite research project. I really enjoyed working with Professor Sattler, and my research ended up incorporating combinatorics, algebra, analysis, and even a hint of number theory. This sort of interdisciplinary thinking in mathematics is very exciting to me.”

After graduating from Lawrence next year, Dillon plans to attend graduate school in pursuit of a Ph.D. in mathematics.

The Goldwater honor will do nothing but help as he moves forward. It is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in the math and science fields, and is administered by the Goldwater Foundation, a federally endowed agency established in 1986. Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research credentials that garner the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs.

“It’s affirmation that I’m on the right track to accomplish my goals,” Dillon said. “I have also put a lot of work into my mathematical endeavors—taking advanced courses, enrolling in multiple reading courses at Lawrence, conducting research, some of it independently, studying mathematics intensely in Budapest. As with everyone, it’s really nice when these efforts are recognized.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Lawrence’s Willa Dworschack named a Goldwater Scholar

Willa Dworschack ’20, a Lawrence University physics major from Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, has been named a Goldwater Scholar.

Head shot of Willa Dworschack
Willa Dworschack ’20

Dworschack, who is doing research in atomic and molecular optics, is one of 496 undergraduates across the country being honored for their studies in math and science fields.

The program honoring the late Sen. Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of math, natural sciences and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship, the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields, is administered by the Goldwater Foundation, a federally endowed agency established in 1986.

“I am thrilled to be honored by the Goldwater Foundation,” Dworschack said. “Lawrence has provided the opportunities to help me perform nationally recognized research, which is instrumental to my successes as an undergraduate.”

Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research credentials that garner the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs.

Dworschack, a junior, is among the 496 college sophomores or juniors selected from across the country. The selections came from a pool of 1,223 natural science, engineering and mathematics students who were nominated by 443 academic institutions to compete for the 2019 Goldwater scholarships. 

“I am grateful for this scholarship that will help support my future and look forward to discovering what opportunities result from becoming a Goldwater Scholar while I continue my study of atomic and molecular optics,” Dworschack said.

The Goldwater announcement comes on the heels of Lawrence students earning prestigious Fulbright and Watson fellowships.

Details here on fellowship and scholarship opportunities at Lawrence.

Meghan Murphy ’19, from Wauwatosa, is one of 41 national recipients of a Watson Fellowship that will provide for a year of independent travel and exploration, studying the violin and violin-like instruments in multiple cultures. See details here.

Milou (Emmylou) de Meij ’19, from Bozeman, Montana, has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award. She will teach English in an assistantship position in Latvia during the 2019-20 academic year. A student of both Russian studies and music performance, she is one of more than 2,100 U.S. citizens who will study, conduct research, and teach abroad for the coming academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  See details here.