The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation recently recognized 240 students across the nation as Goldwater scholarship winners, a scholarship meant to help fourth-years with university costs.

Three students from the University of Richmond were among those recipients: Grace Conway, WC ‘18, Arjun Jaini, RC ‘18, and Andrew Levorse, RC ‘18. 

The Goldwater scholarship is the most prestigious undergraduate award for those pursuing fields in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. Since 1990, UR has had 24 Goldwater scholars and six students receive honorable mentions.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by the United States Congress in 1986 in order to honor the lifetime work of former U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater. Goldwater served the U.S. government for 56 years as both a soldier and as a member of the Senate.

Professors from any university in the U.S. can nominate up to four students to receive this scholarship. After being nominated, students are invited to formally apply. Juniors are typically nominated for the award, but in some cases sophomores have also won.

The scholarship is awarded based on merit and the actual amount is determined by financial need. It is worth a maximum of $7,500 and can be used to help cover costs such as tuition, textbooks and room and board.

Carol Parish and Michael Leopold, both chemistry professors, and Kristine Grayson, an assistant biology professor, nominated Jaini, Conway and Levorse respectively.

“Every now and then you get a student who is skilled enough, works hard enough and is lucky enough to have their research consistently go well that they progress down the path further than everybody else,” Leopold said. “When you get someone who meets that criteria and they are so powerful academically, then you start to see Goldwater.”

The process to nominate a Goldwater scholar requires a lot of thought and time.

“The Goldwater scholarship foundation is looking for students who have exceptional academic records as well as an interest in continuing research in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines,” Grayson said. “We have such amazing students coming from the University of Richmond.”

The three Goldwater scholars at UR are currently working on research projects that have contributed to their success. Jaini is working on a way to investigate explosive devices, Conway is working on developing a first generation uric acid biosensor and Levorse is working to better understand amphibian diseases.

Conway attributes her success to getting an early start with pursuing research opportunities.

“Being able to join a research lab at Richmond during my first year opened so many doors to different career paths," Conway said. “Receiving the [Goldwater] scholarship shows that members of the scientific community find my work valuable."

Contact contributor Sarah Raymond at sarah.raymond@richmond.edu.