A Record Three UMass Amherst Undergraduates Named Goldwater Scholars for Excellence in Sciences, Math and Engineering

AMHERST, Mass. - Three undergraduates from the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have been named Goldwater Scholars, an honor that goes to no more than 300 students nationally each year in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in science, mathematics and engineering.

Established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, the purpose of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

The three winners from UMass Amherst are juniors. They are:

Nicolas Zac Reyes of Amherst, a mathematics major whose focus is algebraic geometry and algebraic topology, and who looks forward to an advanced degree and a career in teaching.

Michael T. Veling, a biochemistry and chemistry major from Lincoln who hopes to identify biochemical pathways of economically valuable natural products in plant species.

Benjamin Waldman, a microbiology major from Amherst who hopes to research medically relevant pathogens and teach at the university level.

In addition, sophomore Saul Kushinsky of Stoughton received an honorable mention from the Goldwater Foundation.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor of psychology and director of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement at UMass Amherst, said that this is the first year that UMass Amherst has had three Goldwater Scholars and one honorable mention.

"It is a highly prestigious award," she said. "These impressive results highlight the terrific accomplishments of our undergraduates and also speak to the great support we receive from the faculty who work with these students."

This year, 282 Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,123 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

The one and two year scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.