Physics Student Named Goldwater Scholar

Margaret McCarter
March 31, 2014                                             

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan junior Margaret McCarter (Arlington Heights, Ill.), a physics major and chemistry minor, was named a 2014-15 Goldwater Scholar. The Goldwater program, established by Congress in 1986, recognizes outstanding academic achievement in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. McCarter is one of only 283 selected nationally out of 1,166 nominees, and one of only nine students from the state of Illinois.  

"When I found out I had gotten a Goldwater Scholarship, I was so amazed and excited. I honestly couldn't believe it," said McCarter, the University’s first Goldwater recipient since 2003. "The physics department here is incredible, and every professor is genuinely interested in getting to know students and helping them succeed. They have really encouraged me to seek out opportunities to do research and are always ready and willing to help if I come to them for guidance."

McCarter especially thanked her general chemistry lab professor James House for nominating her, Professor Narendra Jaggi, her physics adviser, for his support and for recommending her to University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Professor Laura Greene, with whom she conducted summer research.

Following graduation in 2015, McCarter plans to pursue a doctorate in physics and do research in condensed matter physics or in an area related to materials science. She says that whatever she does she wants it to be "something that I’m interested in and also something that can have an impact broader than just in the physics lab."

The Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was authorized by the United States Congress to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served in the Senate for 30 years. Awards are made to undergraduate juniors and seniors who have outstanding potential and intend to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering.

Contact: Matt Kurz, (309) 556-3203