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Students in STEM fields earn Goldwater Scholarships

It feels great to be recognized for my hard work and I am motivated to live up to the standards of past Goldwater Scholars. The award is a testament to the quality of MSU’s College of Engineering, Honors College and Student-Athlete Support Services.

John Suddard-Bangsund and David Zoltowski

Two Michigan State University students won major national awards and two received honorable mention. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is the most prestigious undergraduate award in science, math and engineering. Since the first awards were bestowed in 1989, there have been 40 Goldwater Scholars at MSU.

“I’m honored to be recognized as a Goldwater Scholar but I couldn’t have gotten to this point without the mentorship I’ve received,” John Suddard-Bangsund said. Suddard-Bangsund is an Honors College junior majoring in materials science and engineering and interdisciplinary humanities. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with people who are really excited and passionate about their work, and their energy has been contagious. I look forward to continuing my research and seeing where it takes me.”

Suddard-Bangsund is a research assistant in the Molecular Organic Excitonics Lab, developing new electron donor materials for organic photovoltaics. He is an Honors Times Two mentor, fundraising chair for Engineers Without Borders and participant in the Michigan State Solar Car team.

David Zoltowski, an Honors College junior majoring in electrical engineering, is a research assistant, applying advanced signal processing tools to study the functional brain networks. He is captain of the MSU Varsity Swimming and Diving team, a Distinguished Big Ten Scholar and Academic All Big Ten. Zoltowski is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, Eta Kappa Nu and an Honors Times Two mentor.  

“I am very excited to be a Goldwater Scholar,” Zoltowski said. “It feels great to be recognized for my hard work and I am motivated to live up to the standards of past Goldwater Scholars. The award is a testament to the quality of MSU’s College of Engineering, Honors College and Student-Athlete Support Services.”

Goldwater honorable mentions went to Megan Kechner, an Honors College sophomore majoring in neuroscience and psychology; and Irene Li, an Honors College sophomore majoring in genomics and molecular genetics and interdisciplinary studies in social science-health and society.