The U.S. Congress founded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program in memory of Senator Barry Goldwater in 1986.
The scholarship’s mission was to encourage highly qualified undergraduate students to become future leaders in the fields of mathematics, sciences and engineering. It is the most prestigious undergraduate award given in the sciences.
Every year, about 300 outstanding college sophomores and juniors across the nation are selected to receive a grant of maximum $7,500 per school year to support their research effort.
Union has contributed to the list of Goldwater winners almost every year, joining the ranks of elite schools.
This year, three Union students were honored as Goldwater Scholars; Theodor Di Pauli von Treuheim ’16, Ryan M. Bouck ’16 and Michael Warrener ’16.
The achievements of the students trace back to their extensive research experience here on the Union campus and beyond.
Warrener, unfortunately could not be reached for comment, as he is currently abroad.
Bouck, who is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Nanotechnology, started doing research in the aerogel lab the winter term of his freshman year, when he carried out preliminary work that later would lead to his Goldwater project. Buock was fascinated by aerogels and “the cool applications.”
He then got the permission of his research advisor and Mechanical Engineering Professor, Ann Anderson, to work in the lab.
Since then, he has been doing research every single term including breaks and summers.
His study involves using the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and other instruments to look at the relationship between material structures and their activities, especially during aerogel phase transformation.
Anderson, and Mathematics Professor, Kimmo Rosenthal, told Buock to give the Goldwater a try.
Buock applied for the scholarship last year as a sophomore and got an Honorable Mention. This year, he made it.
Di Pauli’s rise to prominence started a year later than Buock, as he did not decide to pursue a research career until the summer after his sophomore year.
Di Pauli moved from Italy to the US in 2007 in hopes of becoming a hockey player, not a scientist.
Nonetheless, the life-changing event took place last summer when he joined a research program at The Marine Biological Laboratory in Cape Cod, MA.
There, he studied neurophysiology in marine organisms, especially squids. This research experience helped Di Pauli cement his passion in scientific work.
He has since been working with Professor of Mechanical Engineering Glenn Sanders. Their current research focuses on Orthopedic Engineering.
Union’s Director of National Fellowships and Scholarships, Dr. Lynn Evans, recognized Theodor as a potentially strong candidate and encouraged him to apply.
She helped guide the three students, as well as other Goldwater applicants, throughout the rigorous application process.
Asked for advice for future Goldwater applicants, both Buock and Di Pauli agreed that research experience is the most important component of the application.
Buock, who has also done research with Mechanical Engineering Professor Cortez and Chemistry Professor Michael Hagerman, emphasized how working in various areas pertinent to his core projects helped to broaden his perspective and strengthen his problem-solving skills.
Di Pauli is also thankful for his opportunity to work at The MBL in Cape Cod.
It is through the correspondence between him and his former mentor there that he had his Goldwater moment of epiphany.
This summer, Buock and Di Pauli will be travelling similar, yet different journies.
Di Pauli is travelling to UCLA for a summer research program on Orthopedic and Tissue Engineering, while Buock will be going to Northwestern University to join an REU on Material Science and Engineering.
Both men will continue graduate studies after Union.
Buock concluded “When you know that your research may make a difference, you will want to do the best job you can.”