Two engineering students receive prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

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Two Rowan engineering students, Matthew Conway and Madeline Dunsmore, were awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship for their work at the university. 

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986, as a memorial to honor the work of Senator Barry Goldwater. The senator served the country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, as well as being in the U.S. Senate for 30 years. 

The scholarship is given to sophomores and juniors who are going into careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. In 2023, it was the largest number of scholars who have been supported in a single year. 

The two Rowan students were able to receive the 2024 Goldwater award, and were two of only 64 students in engineering and materials research to receive the award in the U.S. There were 438 scholarships this year. 

Conway is a junior majoring in chemical engineering and Spanish with two minors in chemistry and international studies. Dunsmore is a junior majoring in biomedical engineering and a minor in chemistry. 

Both of the students reside in the Martinson Honors College and will receive funding toward their senior years at Rowan.

For Conway, earning a doctorate degree is a natural step in the right direction to continue doing research in chemical engineering. 

“Right now my plan is to obtain my PhD in organic chemistry and then move on to working in an industrial setting where I can help produce new products and things like that,” Conway said. “Last summer I worked for an agricultural company producing pesticides. But, I’d also be interested in going to pharmaceuticals and producing small molecule drugs.” 

Conway has been involved in various different organizations and in the community. He is the current president of Rowan’s chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, which has helped him in researching different topics. During his time as president, Conway was able to attend national conferences and present his projects. 

He also works at Dr. Kirti Yenkie’s Sustainable Design and Systems Medicine Lab. Yenkie oversaw a lot of his work and guided him while serving as his mentor. 

“Matthew started working in my lab in the beginning of the second year. I was glad he approached me for a potential project,” Yerkie said. “I usually only teach seniors. Even though he was just in his second year, he took the initiative to learn programming in Python, plus being able to do the materials.” 

Yerkie thinks very highly of Conway and is proud to see his work being recognized. She was the one who had recommended Conway to apply for the scholarship and eventually go through the nomination process. 

“Along with that, Matt is very sincere and intelligent. Even after being active in so many areas, he is still able to contribute critically to all these technical projects.” Yerkie said. 

Dunsmore is also heavily involved at Rowan in organizations. She is the vice president of Rowan’s student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and also serves as a student ambassador for the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dunsmore also works with Dr. Mary Staehle in an immunoengineering lab. There she worked with a graduate student Leah Davis, where they did a lot of research in cancer therapy by using synthetic biology. After graduating, she hopes to continue researching and go into the women’s health field.

“I’m planning on pursuing my PhD after I graduate and continuing my research in biomedical engineering. I’m going to be focusing my research on women’s health, specifically preeclampsia that affects women who are pregnant,” said Dunsmore. 

Along with Conway, both have felt honored to win the award since there were so many applications. Both of the students are going to continue researching topics of their expertise. With this award, they have gained the recognition to reach out to new opportunities. 

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