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Montana Tech Student Awarded Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship


Montana Tech environmental engineering student Joseph Mitzel has been awarded a 2013 Goldwater Scholarship. This is the fourth Montana Tech student to receive the Goldwater honor. Other awardees include: Robert Hark (2012), Chris Dienes (2007), Calley Jones (2000), and an honorable mention in 2011 for Ariane Erickson. The one to two year scholarship gives each student up to $7,500 a year for tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college student who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

Mrs. Peggy Goldwater Clay, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, announced that the Trustees awarded 271 scholarships for the 2013–2014 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States. The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. One hundred seventy-six of the Scholars are men, 95 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Twenty-seven Scholars are mathematics majors, 159 are science and related majors, 71 are majoring in engineering, and 14 are computer science majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines.

Mitzel, a junior majoring in environmental engineering, grew up in Missoula and came from a family of five brothers and one sister. As a young student, he always enjoyed math, chemistry, physics, and the natural sciences. He was attracted to a degree in Environmental Engineering because it required a working knowledge of many different fields of study. After he graduates from Montana Tech, he plans to obtain a Ph.D. in advanced wastewater treatment methods and perform research to develop novel technologies. He is a member of the Montana Tech football team and was the recipient of the 2013 NAIA Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award. "I am honored to represent Montana Tech and all the professors and fellow students who have helped me develop into the person I am today," noted Mitzel. 

Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 80 Rhodes Scholarships, 118 Marshall Awards, 110 Churchill Scholarships and numerous other distinguished fellowships.

Dr. Marisa Pedulla chairs Montana Tech’s National Student Awards Committee (NSAC), which supports Montana Tech students for major national and international scholarships. The mission of NSAC, which was founded in 2006, is to create a campus community that fosters and supports outstanding Montana Tech students throughout their education and to nominate and assist Montana Tech’s top students in the preparation of applications for prestigious National Awards. “Helping Montana Tech’s outstanding undergraduates to realize their potential and be recognized for their accomplishments has been a tremendously rewarding endeavor,” explained Pedulla. “It’s exciting and motivating to work closely with the student nominees and dedicated committee members in the process of preparing applications.”

In the past 7 years, Montana Tech’s NSAC has had three Goldwater Scholars, one Goldwater honorable mention.  Two students, Jack Stratton (2009) and Casey Clark (2011), were finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship. Montana Tech 2010 chemistry alum, Cory Sonneman, who is a medical student at Pacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine, won a National Health Service Corps Scholarship and current metallurgical student, Ivan Sljivar, won the NAIA Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has bestowed over 6,550 scholarships worth approximately 40 million dollars. The Trustees plan to award about three hundred scholarships for the 2014–2015 academic year.