By Shehtaz Huq ’14
Physics major Hannah Weaver ’14 (Whitefish, Mont.) has earned distinction as a recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship. Awarded for academic merit, the Goldwater is the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering. Each student’s award will cover college costs up to a maximum of $7,500 next academic year.
Weaver is working on research with Andy Kortyna, associate professor of physics, through the EXCEL Scholars undergraduate research program. Her role involves using high-resolution laser spectroscopy to study the structure of several excited states of atomic cesium. Weaver presented her work at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics in Quebec, and it is being published in Physical Review, a leading international peer-reviewed journal.
Weaver says that the hands-on learning solidified her ambitions to become an experimental physicist.
However, theoretical physics isn’t her only academic interest. She joined six other students as the LIME (Lafayette Initiative for Malagasy Education) team that went to Madagascar this January with David Stifel, professor of economics. and Elizabeth McMahon, professor of mathematics.
“We worked with high school students in Antananarivo to mentor them in the American college application process,” she says. Weaver was particularly enamored by her students’ passion for higher education, and notes that the lessons she learned were “unforgettable.”
Weaver, who is minoring in classical civilizations, also credits Markus Dubischar, associate professor of foreign languages and literatures, for enriching her multidisciplinary experience.
“My ability to think in different ways has been enriched by classes I’ve taken in classics with Professor Dubischar,” she says. “There’s nothing like taking a break from solving physics problems only to get lost in the words of Plato or Sophocles.”
Established by Congress in 1986, the scholarship program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater encourages outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. This year 271 scholarships were awarded for the 2013-14 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States. The recipients were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.
For information on applying for scholarships and fellowships, contact Julia A. Goldberg, associate dean of the College, (610) 330-5521.