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Mechanical, electrical engineering students earn Goldwater Scholar honor, honorable mention

Anna Hartenbach and Colleen Carow | Apr 16, 2018
Goldwater

Mechanical, electrical engineering students earn Goldwater Scholar honor, honorable mention

Anna Hartenbach and Colleen Carow | Apr 16, 2018

A junior mechanical engineering student has been named as a national 2018 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, with a sophomore electrical engineering student earning an honorable mention.

Engineering Ambassador Quinn Mitchell is one of 211 students across the nation who will receive tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year as a 2018 scholar. Ryan Tumbleson, who is also majoring in Honors Tutorial College engineering physics, was one of 281 to receive an honorable mention.

Monica Burdick, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and chair of Ohio University’s Goldwater Committee, mentored Mitchell since he first approached her about the scholarship during his sophomore year.

“I think everyone who has met Quinn can attest to his amazing potential, and the Goldwater Scholarship proves that he truly is the best of the best,” she said of Mitchell, who is president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics student chapter and co-chair of professional development for the engineering honorary society Theta Tau student chapter.

This year’s scholars were selected from roughly 1,280 STEM students and nominated by more than 2,000  colleges and universities. Several OHIO students have received honorable mentions in recent years.

Mitchell, an Athens native, said he learned about the scholarship from 2017 honorable mention recipient Bertrand Neyhouse and felt that applying would benefit his pursuit of graduate school and research fellowships. 

“Although the application process was time-consuming, it was beneficial overall, as it encouraged me to consider my current research as well as my future research plans,” Mitchell said. “I hope this scholarship will help me be more competitive for the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program and top graduate programs.”

Burdick, who said that awardees are the best and the brightest undergraduate STEM leaders in the nation – individuals likely to have major impacts on their chosen fields – added that Mitchell also brings personality to the lab. 

“Quinn is bright and quick in engineering, and in general conversation -- and a lot of fun to be around,” Burdick said. “We've encountered many unexpected hurdles in the collaborative project he's part of, and we would probably feel blue without him around to crack a joke or make a light-hearted comment.”

Tumbleson, who has spent two summers interning at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, has gained research experience in advanced scanning probe studies of single molecules and nanostructures, and the quantum properties of a nanocar – a car-like molecule that is so small that one billion of them could sit along the length of a human hair. 

Tumbleson, who is fundraising chair for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers student chapter, said that he is grateful to receive an honorable mention.

“I believe that being an honorable mention helps distinguish me from other STEM students who want to pursue research,” said Tumbleson, who spent two summers interning at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. “It shows that I am very serious about pursuing a career in research, and that others believe that I will do so successfully in the future,” he said.

He intends to continue his research -- advanced scanning probe studies of single molecules and nanostructures -- reapply for the scholarship next year.

The scholarship, honoring Senator Barry Goldwater, encourages outstanding students to pursue STEM careers and is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type.

Colleen Carow contributed to this story.