With Three Winners, K-State Students Continue Ranking First Among Public Universities in Goldwater Scholarship Competition

Three Kansas State University students have won $7,500 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships and a fourth nominee received honorable mention in this national scholarship competition. According to scholar adviser James Hohenbary, students winning Goldwater scholarships are Sarah Meyer, Aaron Wech and Jonathan Whitmer. Justin Dyer received honorable mention.  Two of these students, Aaron Wech and Jonathan Whitmer, are physics students.


The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,093 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. One hundred sixty-one of the Scholars are men, 139 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Thirty-one Scholars are mathematics majors, 210 are science majors, 45 are majoring in engineering, 12 are computer science related majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines.


K-State President Jon Wefald said, "K-State students have won 48 Goldwater scholarships since the program began in 1989, ranking our students first in the nation among public universities in America in the number of Goldwater winners. This is an incredible achievement for a state university, and attests to the strong work ethic of our excellent students and the dedicated faculty members, who mentor them."

Wefald said that among all colleges and universities in the nation, only Princeton with 51 winners and Harvard with 50 have produced more Goldwater scholars. Duke University is tied with K-State with 48 winners.

The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Meyer will receive one year of funding, Wech and Whitmer will receive two years of scholarship support.

Wech, Hill City, is a is a senior in physics and mathematics. He plans to earn a doctorate in atomic physics and conduct theoretical research in industry or at a national laboratory before pursuing a career as a university professor.

At K-State, Wech is a member of the Physics Club, and was a participant in the 2002 Physics Research Experience for Undergraduates program. He also conducts atomic, molecular, optical physics research with professor Lew Cocke. A McNair Scholar, he is a member of Golden Key International Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi honor society. He has received a KSU Foundation Scholarship, an Engineering Scholarship, James R. Macdonald Memorial Scholarship, Dane G. Hansen Scholarship and a Rush Foundation Scholarship. A 2000 graduate of Hill City High School, he is the son of Jean Greggs, Chesterfield, N.H., and Gregory Wech, Chippewa Falls, Wis.

Whitmer, Wilson, is a senior in physics and mathematics. He plans to earn a doctorate in physics/condensed matter and conduct research in condensed matter physics at a research university. He plans to study nanoscale phenomena, with possible applications regarding the development of techniques for creating advances in materials and nanotechnology devices. He is active in the Physics Club, and does research with professor Bruce Law and the liquid surface physics group. Last summer he attended a research experience for undergraduates at the University of Illinois, and performed condensed matter physics research. He received the Robert C. Byrd Scholarship, the Dane G. Hansen Scholarship, Elks Scholarship, Engineering Scholarship and the Putnam Scholarship to attend K-State. A 2000 graduate of Wilson High School, he is the son of Alice and Eldon Whitmer.

Goldwater Scholars Top 10 of the 2,000 four-year colleges in America: 500 state; 1,500 private.

1. Princeton University 51
2. Harvard University 50
3. *Kansas State University 48
4. Duke University 48
5. California Institute of Technology 44
6. University of Chicago 42
7. *Penn State University 42
8. *University of Illinois-Urbana 40
9. Cornell University 39
10.*Montana State University 39
* denotes state schools

Web address for more information: