Four University of Minnesota students win prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Contacts: Ryan Mathre, University News Service,, (612) 625-0552

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (04/02/2009) —Four University of Minnesota-Twin Cities undergraduates have been named 2009 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars. The prestigious Goldwater Scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors in mathematics, science and engineering who intend to pursue research-oriented careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. The scholarships provide up to $7,500 per year for up to two years of undergraduate study. All four Goldwater Scholars are enrolled in the University Honors Program.

“My congratulations, to our four outstanding students,” said U of M Provost Tom Sullivan. “Such recognition is an exceptional achievement and demonstrates the outstanding quality of our undergraduate education at the University of Minnesota and the diligence and creativity in the natural and applied sciences.”

The four U of M students awarded are:

Mitch Biermann, a College of Biological Sciences sophomore majoring in biochemistry and microbiology, plans to earn a Ph.D. in biochemistry and would like to teach at the university level and conduct research in biochemistry and biophysics. 

Matthew Coudron, an Institute of Technology physics and mathematics sophomore, intends to earn a Ph.D. in physics or mathematics. Coudron plans to conduct research in applications of mathematics to practical problems and teach at the university level. 

Peter Lofgren, an Institute of Technology mathematics and computer science sophomore, plans to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics and computer science. He would like to conduct research in mathematics or computer science and teach at the university level.

Rebecca Szarkowski, an Institute of Technology biomedical engineering junior, plans to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. She hopes to conduct research in biomedical science for industry some day and would like to oversee the device design cycle process from concept to use. 

This year 278 Goldwater Scholars were selected from a field of 1,097 nominees from colleges and universities nationwide. Since the program began, 42 University of Minnesota students have been named Goldwater Scholars. Institutions are permitted to nominate four candidates per year.

Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship go to 

Tags: College of Biological Sciences, Institute of Technology