Rhodes College juniors McKenna Davis and Matthew Huber are among 240 sophomores and juniors nationwide selected as Goldwater Scholars for the 2017-2018 academic year. Established by Congress in 1986 to honor Barry M. Goldwater, a five-term United States senator, the Goldwater Foundation provides scholarships to highly qualified college students who intend to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Students cannot apply for the scholarship, but rather must be nominated by their institutions.
A physics and mathematics major from Westerville, OH, Davis was part of a gravitational physics research project at the University of Birmingham, UK, in the summer of 2016. She then studied abroad in the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program in Budapest, Hungary, the fall semester of 2016. She has published two research papers on force and capacitance approximations for charged spheres of equal size with Dr. Shubho Banerjee of Rhodes—one in the annual journal published by Electrostatic Society of America and one in the journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Davis is a member of Rhodes’ Society of Physics Students, Women in Physics, and Alpha Omicron Pi Women’s Fraternity. She also plays on the varsity women’s lacrosse team. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in gravitational physics while conducting research on noise reduction in gravitational wave detectors.
“Winning this scholarship is a dream come true for me. It reflects not only my own hard work, but the investments of all those who care about me and have supported me throughout my academic career,” says Davis. “This is as much an honor for my friends and family, advisors, and instructors as it is for me, and I am incredibly thankful.”
Davis is a graduate of Westerville South High School.
Huber, a physics major from Saint Peter, MN, has worked in the lab of Dr. Brent Hoffmeister at Rhodes, comparing the acoustic properties of fabricated cancellous bone mimics with human bones to develop ultrasound techniques for diagnosing osteoporosis. He also has conducted ultrasound research at the Mayo Clinic and at Gustavus Adolphus College and will do so this summer at Duke University. His work has resulted in him co-authoring manuscripts and winning conference awards for best student paper and poster. Huber is vice president of Rhodes’ Society of Physics Students, and a co-founder of the Rhodes Engineering Club. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering while conducting research in quantitative biomedical ultrasound at a research hospital or academic research institution.
“I am so excited to receive this award. I have to give a huge amount of credit to the Rhodes College Department of Physics and to my family for the extraordinary support they’ve provided me,” says Huber. “I’m super excited for the academic and research opportunities provided by this scholarship!”
Huber is a graduate of Saint Peter High School.