Contributing Writer Elizabeth Donlon ’18, a junior mechanical engineering major, is one of 240 students from around the country awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year. The Scholarship was established in 1986 with the aim of funding highly motivated students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to pursue their careers. Most awardees plan to follow a Ph.D. path. Awardees were selected from a pool of 1,286 students nominated by 470 schools for the scholarship. The Goldwater Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards for STEM undergraduate students and has awarded over $63 million to 7,921 students. Recipients receive up to $7,500 to cover eligible undergraduate expenses including tuition, fees, books, and room and board. While the selection is based upon academic merit, the award amount depends on financial need. Donlon qualified under academic excellence. As a member of the Scholars Program, she began her research during her Scholars Summer Research Project, under the supervision of Agnes S. MacDonald Professor of Mechanical Engineering. This research continued via a grant from the Lee L. Davenport ’37 Summer Research Fellowship and cumulated in her attendance of the Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, where she presented her research. Donlon credits the lab for introducing her to her role model, Ryan Bouck ’16, another recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship. Donlon said, “I heard Ryan talk about his research and scholarship when I visited as an accepted student and was really impressed by his work and accomplishments.” Bouck received an honorable mention in 2014 and the full scholarship in 2015. “I am extremely grateful to have worked with him, the other members and advisors of the aerogel lab as well as for the opportunities I have received,” Donlon added. “Learning about the aerogel lab and the other research on campus was one of the main reasons I came to Union,” said Donlon. “Not many schools offer opportunities for undergraduate research like this.”. In the future, Donlon hopes to obtain a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and work in industrial research.