AMHERST, Mass. – Robert (Bobby) Johnston, a Commonwealth Honors College student studying physics and engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was recently awarded the Barry S. Goldwater Scholarship.
The coveted national scholarship, which was awarded to 252 of the top science and engineering sophomores and juniors in the country, covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, housing and dining for up to $7,500 per year.
The junior from Pepperell is currently working on a project with his mentor, physics professor Rory Miskimen, for the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. Johnston intends to pursue graduate study in particle physics.
The UMass Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA) helps talented UMass Amherst students compete for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships. ONSA director Susan K. Whitbourne notes that “[Johnston’s] application was extremely compelling, not only for his involvement in an important scientific endeavor, but also for his truly commendable dedication to his studies. We are all very proud of him.”
A campus committee reviewed 13 Goldwater applications before advancing four nominees for consideration by the national committee. Whitbourne notes that this was an extremely competitive year for the Goldwater Scholarship, as there were fewer scholarships available than in previous academic years. Johnston’s application for the award was also supported by chemical engineering professor David Ford and physics professor Maria Kilfoil.
Johnston says, “I’m so proud to represent my department, college and university, and am looking forward to completing my honors thesis in the coming year.”