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Montana Tech Students Awarded Goldwater Honorable Mention


Montana Tech students Ryan Hensleigh, a junior majoring in Chemistry and Geochemistry, and Jordan Leone, a junior majoring in Geophysics, were awarded Honorable Mentions by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship Foundation.

Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,166 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. One hundred seventy-two of the Scholars are men, 111 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Twenty-two Scholars are mathematics majors, 191 are science and related majors, 63 are majoring in engineering, and 7 are computer science majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines.

Jordan and Ryan join five other Montana Tech students who received the Goldwater Award or received honorable mention. The other awardees are: Joe Mitzel (2013), Robert Hark (2012), Chris Dienes (2007), Calley Jones (2000), and Ariane Erickson (2011, Honorable Mention). The one to two year scholarship gives each student up to $7,500 a year for tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

Jordan hails from Fort Collins, CO and is the son of Doug and Jody Leone. Ryan is from Colstrip, MT, and is the son of Gene and Robbie Hensleigh. Both students have participated in Undergraduate Research projects at Montana Tech, and plan careers in research.

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, 117 Marshall Awards, 112 Churchill Scholarships, and numerous other distinguished fellowships such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships.

"These are the fourth and fifth Montana Tech students to receive the Goldwater Scholarship or Honorable Mention since 2011,” said Chancellor Don Blackketter. “This is a clear indicator of the quality of our students, faculty members, and the Montana Tech National Student Awards Committee. I want to extend my personal congratulations to Ryan Hensleigh and Jordan Leone."

Dr. Marvin Speece, Chair of Montana Tech's Geophysical Engineering Department stated, "Jordan has the ability to analyze problems and seek solutions without detailed guidance. He shows a genuine enthusiasm for his studies. He is easy to engage in class and asks insightful questions. I am excited about Jordan receiving a Goldwater Honorable Mention. He is very deserving."

Dr. David Hobbs, Chair of Montana Tech's Chemistry and Geochemistry Department, highlighted the interdisciplinary approach (and several contributing departments) Ryan has taken in his research at Montana Tech. "Ryan's undergraduate research and areas of study are a perfect model of where modern research in sciences exist today. Research today is interdisciplinary, spanning molecular biology, chemistry and material engineering, as well as being strongly coupled with computation and information sciences. The Chemistry & Geochemistry Department at Montana Tech is proud to have Ryan as an outstanding undergraduate, but we must also recognize Montana Tech's Biological Sciences, and General Engineering Departments who provided much of Ryan's support and mentorship. Congratulations to Ryan and his many mentors."

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 8 years, Montana Tech’s NSAC has had four Goldwater Scholars and three Goldwater Honorable Mention awards. 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. Joe Mitzel and Ivan Sljivar, a metallurgical engineering alum, 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 7,163 scholarships worth approximately 46 million dollars. The Trustees plan to award about three hundred scholarships for the 2015–2016 academic year.