All four South Alabama nominees named Scholars by the Goldwater Scholarship Program

Posted on March 31, 2020 by

All four South Alabama nominees named Scholars by the Goldwater Scholarship Program data-lightbox='featured'

Sophomore Honors Biomedical Science major Richard Fu, sophomore Honors Chemistry major Hannah Giannini, junior Honors Meteorology major Samantha Michlowicz, and sophomore CIS major John Pomerat were all named Scholars from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program on Friday, March 27, 2020.

Having a Scholar be named from any institution on any given year is a recognition in itself given the prestige of the Goldwater Scholarship Program.  Having all four nominees be recognized as Scholars is unprecedented.  Notable as well is the sophomore cohort representing South’s 2020 awardees which historically represents 20% of those recognized nationally.  

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Arizona Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. The purpose of the Foundation is to ensure a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

As stated in the Scholar Press Release, this class of Goldwater Scholars represent “ estimated pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1343 natural science, engineering and mathematics students were nominated by 461 academic institutions to compete for the 2020 Goldwater scholarships. Of students who reported, 191 of the Scholars are men, 203 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Fifty Scholars are mathematics and computer science majors, 287 are majoring in the natural sciences, and 59 are majoring in engineering.”

The 2020 class places the total number of Scholars from the University at 12 and recognizes for the first time students for the following disciplines:  Biomedical Sciences (Richard Fu, mentor Dr. Gary Piazza), Meteorology (Samantha Michlowicz, mentor Dr. Sytske Kimball), and CIS (John Pomerat, mentor Dr. Aviv Segev).  Hannah Giannini (mentor Dr. Erin Ahn) is Chemistry’s fourth Scholar.

As part of the scholarship, all four will receive funds to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year for two years for those of sophomore status and one year for those of junior status.

A brief description of the 2020 Goldwater Scholars, listed by institution, can be found at  While the University’s process to select the 2020 nominees, a maximum of four per institution, began in late September of 2019, each Scholar had already amassed an impressive portfolio of their scholarship which for many started early freshman year. 

The Goldwater Selection Committee was chaired by Dr. Wes Terwey (Earth Sciences) and consisted of the following faculty:  Prakash Duraisamy (Computer Science), Eddy Duranty (Chemistry), David Forbes (Chemistry), Albert Gapud (Physics), Mary Kroetz (Biology), Andrei Pavelescu (Math and Statistics), Stephanie Smallegan (Civil Engineering), John Steadman (Electrical Engineering), Sally Steadman (Civil Engineering), and Padmamalini Thulasiraman (Biomedical Sciences).

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