Four University of Minnesota students named 2015 Goldwater Scholars

Four undergraduates in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities have been named 2015 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars.  The prestigious, competitive scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research-oriented careers in mathematics, the natural science, and engineering.  The scholarship awards up to $7500 per year for two years of undergraduate study.  All four Scholars are juniors enrolled in the University Honors Program.

Nathan Klein of Lakeville, Minnesota is majoring in chemistry and mathematics and plans to complete a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry.  As a professor at a research university, he intends to develop analytical techniques that will help to solve problems in public health, particularly issues related to allergic responses.  Educated at home, he began taking courses in math and chemistry at the University of Minnesota at age 14.  With his sister he developed a summer science program for kids, and in the future he hopes to inspire college students to be excited about science and to become scientifically literate citizens.  At the University of Minnesota, Klein works in the lab of Chemistry Professor Christy Haynes on heat-mediated drug release from inorganic nanoparticles, where he is developing a new method to analyze cellular internalization of inorganic nanoparticles using electron microscopy.  He has also conducted research on heterocyclic Diels-Alder reactions in the lab of Professor Wayland Noland.  Klein is a National Merit Scholar, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a member of the University of Minnesota unicycle club.

John O’Leary, a computer science major from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, traces his interest in mathematical modeling and data processing to his grandfather’s stories about serving as a navigator aboard bombers in World War II.  He is interested in issues of human-computer interaction and plans to earn a Ph.D. in Computer Science and conduct research on information management and work to improve accessibility to information.  O’Leary is an undergraduate researcher in the Multiple Autonomous Robotic Systems lab run by Professor Stergios Roumeliotis, where he designs algorithms to quickly process and store the data gathered by a multitude of sensors.  Last summer, he worked in Google’s Advanced Technologies and Products lab on a project to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.  O’Leary is a National Merit Scholar, an Eagle Scout, and the treasurer of the University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club.

Andrew Senger, a mathematics major from Lake Elmo, Minnesota, plans to complete a Ph.D. in mathematics and study issues at the intersection of homotopy theory, algebraic geometry, and number theory.  As a university professor, he intends to teach mathematics and conduct research in the theory of topological automorphic forms.  Educated at home, Senger began taking advanced math and science courses at the University of Minnesota at age 14.  In the summer following his freshman year he worked with Professor Dennis Stanton on to develop a combinatorial proof for selected (q,t)-identities.  As a freshman, Senger investigated descent-Wilf equivalence classes with Professor Joel Lewis, and worked with Professor Tyler Lawson on a study of truncated Brown-Peterson spectra.  He has also been very involved with the Math Club and organizing seminars and colloquia on advanced topics in mathematics.  He is a National Merit Scholar, a University of Minnesota Gold Scholar and Presidential Scholar, and has been awarded an Ella Thorp Math Scholarship.

Sammy Shaker of Roseville, Minnesota is majoring in chemistry and mathematics and plans to earn both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Materials Chemistry.  He plans to combine his training in medicine and chemical research to address medical problems through the development of bio-composites as a faculty member at a research university.  While still in high school, Shaker began doing research at the University of Minnesota with Mathematics Professor Duane Nykamp modeling neural networks.  Since his freshman year he has worked in the lab of Chemistry Professor Andreas Stein to develop templates for synthesizing porous and nanostructured materials, but he has also worked with Mathematics Professor David Clark to solve a problem of error-correcting codes, and with Professor Robert Tranquillo to analyze particle image velocimetry for a tissue-engineered heart valve.  Shaker is a National Merit Scholar, a Bentson Scholar, a Presidential Scholar, and active in the Shotokan Karate Club and the Al-Madinah Cultural Center.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U. S. Senate.  This year 260 scholars were selected nationwide from a field of more than 1200 students who were nominated by their colleges and universities.  Each institution may nominate up to four students.

Since the inception of the program, 59 undergraduates at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities have been named Goldwater Scholars.

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities students who are interested in applying for the scholarship in the future may consult the Office of National and International Scholarships by visiting or by contacting Timothy Jones at

For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship, visit

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