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Four UHP students have been named 2015 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars. The prestigious, competitive scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research-oriented careers in mathematics, the natural science, and engineering. The scholarship awards up to $7500 per year for two years of undergraduate study. All four Scholars are juniors in the College of Science and Engineering.

Nathan Klein of Lakeville, Minnesota is majoring in chemistry and mathematics and plans to complete a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry. As a professor at a research university, he intends to develop analytical techniques that will help to solve problems in public health, particularly issues related to allergic responses. Educated at home, he began taking courses in math and chemistry at the University of Minnesota at age 14. With his sister he developed a summer science program for kids, and in the future he hopes to inspire college students to be excited about science and to become scientifically literate citizens. At the University of Minnesota, Klein works in the lab of Chemistry Professor Christy Haynes on heat-mediated drug release from inorganic nanoparticles, where he is developing a new method to analyze cellular internalization of inorganic nanoparticles using electron microscopy. He has also conducted research on heterocyclic Diels-Alder reactions in the lab of Professor Wayland Noland. Klein is a National Merit Scholar, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a member of the University of Minnesota unicycle club.

John O'Leary, a computer science major from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, traces his interest in mathematical modeling and data processing to his grandfather's stories about serving as a navigator aboard bombers in World War II. He is interested in issues of human-computer interaction and plans to earn a Ph.D. in Computer Science and conduct research on information management and work to improve accessibility to information. O'Leary is an undergraduate researcher in the Multiple Autonomous Robotic Systems lab run by Professor Stergios Roumeliotis, where he designs algorithms to quickly process and store the data gathered by a multitude of sensors. Last summer, he worked in Google's Advanced Technologies and Products lab on a project to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion. O'Leary is a National Merit Scholar, an Eagle Scout, and the treasurer of the University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club.

Andrew Senger, a mathematics major from Lake Elmo, Minnesota, plans to complete a Ph.D. in mathematics and study issues at the intersection of homotopy theory, algebraic geometry, and number theory. As a university professor, he intends to teach mathematics and conduct research in the theory of topological automorphic forms. Educated at home, Senger began taking advanced math and science courses at the University of Minnesota at age 14. In the summer following his freshman year he worked with Professor Dennis Stanton on to develop a combinatorial proof for selected (q,t)-identities. As a freshman, Senger investigated descent-Wilf equivalence classes with Professor Joel Lewis, and worked with Professor Tyler Lawson on a study of truncated Brown-Peterson spectra. He has also been very involved with the Math Club and organizing seminars and colloquia on advanced topics in mathematics. He is a National Merit Scholar, a University of Minnesota Gold Scholar and Presidential Scholar, and has been awarded an Ella Thorp Math Scholarship.

Sammy Shaker of Roseville, Minnesota is majoring in chemistry and mathematics and plans to earn both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Materials Chemistry. He plans to combine his training in medicine and chemical research to address medical problems through the development of bio-composites as a faculty member at a research university. While still in high school, Shaker began doing research at the University of Minnesota with Mathematics Professor Duane Nykamp modeling neural networks. Since his freshman year he has worked in the lab of Chemistry Professor Andreas Stein to develop templates for synthesizing porous and nanostructured materials, but he has also worked with Mathematics Professor David Clark to solve a problem of error-correcting codes, and with Professor Robert Tranquillo to analyze particle image velocimetry for a tissue-engineered heart valve. Shaker is a National Merit Scholar, a Bentson Scholar, a Presidential Scholar, and active in the Shotokan Karate Club and the Al-Madinah Cultural Center.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U. S. Senate. This year 260 scholars were selected nationwide from a field of more than 1200 students who were nominated by their colleges and universities. Each institution may nominate up to four students.

Since the inception of the program, 59 undergraduates at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities have been named Goldwater Scholars.

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities students who are interested in applying for the scholarship in the future may consult the Office of National and International Scholarships website or contact

More information on the Goldwater Scholarship.

STEM Tutors Work with MPS

March 20, 2015

The University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Public Schools announced in January a tutoring partnership that has brought nearly two dozen UHP students to Ramsey Middle School in Minneapolis this semester. The partnership pairs talented undergraduates with current middle school students and features a curriculum grounded in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The University Honors Student Association has worked closely with MPS to develop this program, which focuses on hands-on interaction with students in STEM classrooms and early mentorship in their preparation for college.

"We are in a unique position," said UHSA President Ryan Olson. "We attend a world-class institution positioned in a city with one of the highest achievement gaps in the nation. This is an opportunity for college students to confront a very important issue in their community."

Program founder Joelle Stangler, a junior studying Political Science and Journalism, thinks the initiative is a perfect fit for the U. "We hope the University continues to work to build these types of relationships with surrounding communities," said Stangler. "This is a pilot year, but we have every intention to expand after a semester of success."

The program launched on January 23rd at Ramsey Middle School. U of M President Eric Kaler, Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson of Minneapolis Public Schools, and Principal Paul Marietta of Ramsey Middle School welcomed the tutors prior to a training session.

Max Shinn, a UHP senior studying Neuroscience and Mathematics, has been named a 2015 Churchill Scholar by the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States. He is the sixth U of M student to receive this prestigious honor.

Shinn—who is enrolled in the College of Biological Sciences, the College of Science and Engineering, and the University Honors Program—will reside at Churchill College for the 2015–16 academic year and complete an MPhil in Psychiatry at Cambridge University. He plans to work with Professor Edward Bullmore, who is applying mathematical graph theory to fMRI data to uncover the roots of psychiatric disorders. Shinn hopes that his research will provide a new diagnostic tool that will enable early identification and preventative care for mental illness—something he cares deeply about.

"Mental illness is arguably the most important public health problem in developed countries," said Shinn. "But we still don't understand what is happening in the brain when someone has a psychiatric disorder. I am excited to use mathematics to improve the study and treatment of these very complicated disorders. The possibility of improving lives is what drives me to continue my work."

At the U of M, Shinn has pursued the study of the human mind from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, conducting research with faculty in Psychology, Neuroscience, Mathematics, and Biomedical Engineering. The University offered further support with an Undergraduate Research Opportunities grant, and the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) funded a summer research internship in Germany. As a student at Chaska (Minn.) High School, Shinn developed WriteType, a word processor that helps children with learning difficulties learn to write. For his exceptional drive and achievement, he was awarded an AXA Scholarship given to ten top student leaders in the U.S.

Shinn, the son of Kurt and Jennifer Shinn of Chaska, Minn., was also named a Goldwater Scholar in 2013 and an Astronaut Scholar in 2014.

"The award of the Churchill Scholarship is the culmination of a long line of honors recognizing Max's many accomplishments during his uniquely impressive undergraduate career at the University of Minnesota," said Serge Rudaz, Director of the University Honors Program. "I am very proud of Max for taking full advantage of the wealth of opportunities offered by the University, and of the faculty and staff who provided him with mentorship and support. I know that he will do wonderfully well at Cambridge."

About the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States

The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States was founded in 1959 to offer American students of exceptional ability and achievement in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics the opportunity to pursue graduate studies at Cambridge. Fourteen seniors from the top colleges and research universities in the United States are selected as Churchill Scholars each year, making the $60,000 award one of the most selective and prestigious post-graduate scholarships. Five graduates of the University of Minnesota have previously been named as Churchill Scholars.

UHP Students Win SEED Awards

November 13, 2014

The Office for Equity and Diversity's Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Awards program honors and acknowledges diverse students who are doing outstanding work at the University of Minnesota, both in and out of the classroom. Recipients of the 2014 awards were honored at the seventh annual Equity and Diversity Breakfast held on November 12. Of the seven University of Minnesota–Twin Cities students honored, five are UHP students. We're incredibly proud to be so well represented in this exemplary group of undergraduates. Congratulations are also in order for the other SEED Award recipients, Lawrence Karongo (UMTC/Economics), Jayce Koester (UM-Morris English/Political Science), Michael Prideaux (UM-Morris/Philosophy, GWSS), and Kimiya Rabu (UMTC/Elementary Education).

President's SEED Award for Outstanding Academic Achievment

This award is given in honor of outstanding academic performance and demonstration of engagement with and commitment to issues of equity and diversity.

Mary Gao is a third-year UHP student majoring in economics and psychology and pursuing minors in statistics and management. In addition to her work with disadvantaged youth in education, she is also one of the founding members of the Psychology Student Diversity Council, promoting and providing support for underrepresented students to seek research opportunities and graduate education. Mary does research through the College of Liberal Arts and the Carlson School of Management and plans to attend graduate school for a PhD in industrial organizational psychology.

Sue W. Hancock SEEDs of Change Awards

Multiple awards are given to students demonstrating impressive engagement with and commitment to issues of equity and diversity through outstanding academic achievment and activism.

Maria Lee is a third-year UHP student majoring in Geography and pursuing minors in Park and Protected Area Management and Outdoor Recreation and Education. Maria is passionate about ensuring access to outdoor spaces for all people. Currently, Maria works to connect students in Minneapolis and St. Paul schools with local outdoor spaces through the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventure program. On the Twin Cities campus, Maria works with the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence and helps others connect their passions to community organizations as a peer advisor in the Community Service—Learning Center.

Gabriel Ramirez-Hernandez is a fourth-year UHP student majoring in psychology and French studies. His activities outside of the classroom focus on service to underrepresented students in education. He has served as a mentor for the Multicultural Family Literacy Program for the past two years and as president of the Latino International Student Association for the past year. Through these positions, he has found opportunities to promote cultural awareness and share information about higher education options among underrepresented students in South Minneapolis. Gabriel is currently learning abroad in Montpellier in southern France.

Liandra Sy is a fourth-year UHP student majoring in psychology and English. Liandra spent the first 12 years of her life in the Philippines. After moving to the United States, her dual identity as a first generation immigrant and naturalized American citizen impacted her views on social inequity, especially in education. She hopes to pursue literary studies with an emphasis on postcolonial literature to understand the role of language and literature in relation to oppressive status quo ideologies.

Ian Taylor, Jr. is a fourth-year UHP student majoring in English and African American & American Studies. Ian was born in New Orleans and raised in Woodbury, Minnesota, and his passion for community empowerment has taken him from the streets of Minneapolis to Africa—he's currently learning abroad in Kenya. He strives to make a powerful impact in every community he joins by adding value and learning more from others. After graduation, he plans to spend a year working and preparing for law school.


November 12, 2014

fridays@noon is a series of events hosted by the University Honors Program throughout the course of the academic year, typically featuring Honors students sharing something unique about their undergraduate experiences here at the University and around the world. This year, we've expanded the series to include several musical performances by our talented students.

At one of our October events, parents, friends, and staff gathered for a triple-bill featuring tuba duets by Connor Neil (first year, Neuroscience) and Jonathon Meyer (first year, Electrical Engineering / Computer Science), a classical guitar performance by Tyler Tracy (third year, Music / Political Science), and a vocal performance by Madison Holtze (first year, Music):

There are still a few excellent fridays@noon events this semester, including a chance to meet Northrop's 2014 McKnight International Artist, Cuban choreographer Osnel Delgado on November 21st! The full list of fall 2014 events is as follows:

Upcoming (note: please double-check our calendar to ensure accurate and up-to-date info.)

  • November 14: Joelle Stangler, a junior Political Science and Journalism major and current president of the Minnesota Student Association (MSA), talks about getting involved in student government at the University.
  • November 21: Renowned Cuban choreographer and Northrop's McKnight International Artist in residence, Osnel Delgado, joins us for a special edition for fridays@noon. Co-sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study.
  • December 5: Feeling intimidated by the medical school application process? Our panel of UHP seniors have been through the gauntlet and survived to share their stories!


  • September 19: Sarah Bening, a senior Biomedical Engineering major who works in the Living Devices Lab and spent this past summer working in a research program at MIT, shared her experience with undergraduate research.
  • September 26: Arianna Wegley, a freshman majoring in music, performed on the cello.
  • October 3: Quincy "Sherlock" Rosemarie, a senior majoring in Genetics, Cell Biology & Development, uncovered the truth about her experiences with undergraduate research and internships at Mayo Clinic and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul.
  • October 17: Joshua Quinn, a senior majoring in political science, talked about his experience traveling to Beijing for a year with the CET Intensive Chinese Language program.
  • October 24: Kieran McCabe, a senior Aerospace Engineering major and president of Gopher Motorsports, talked about building open-wheel sports cars for the Formula SAE competition.
  • October 31: Tuba duet from freshmen Connor Neil and Jonathon Meyer; classical guitar performance by senior Tyler Tracy; vocal performance by freshman Madison Holtze.
  • November 7: Emily Myers, a senior Anthropology major, spoke about her experience last summer in Cuba with the SPAN program, which offers opportunities for faculty-directed research abroad. Evelyn Anderson, the Administrative Coordinator from SPAN also attended and answered questions about the program.

Michael Veit, who graduated summa cum laude in 2014 with degrees in both Physics and Mathematics, has been named the winner of the 2014 Leroy Apker Award by the American Physical Society. Veit will receive a $5,000 prize in recognition of research that formed the basis of his Honors Thesis. The University of Minnesota's School of Physics will also receive $5,000 to further support undergraduate research here at the University.

"The Apker is the most distinguished award recognizing excellence in undergraduate research in physics in this country," said Serge Rudaz, director of the University Honors Program and Professor of Physics. "We are all incredibly proud of Michael's achievement, which reflects brightly on the University, its School of Physics, and its Honors Program."

Veit entered the University Honors Program as a sophomore, motivated by UHP's emphasis on research. "I think the research component of the Honors Program had the most profound impact on my undergraduate career," he says. He credits UHP as a a major influence on his success and current career path: "My experience with research has been the biggest factor in choosing to continue studying physics in graduate school. Without UHP, I'm not sure I would have started conducting research as early as I did, and I would have missed out on some incredible experiences that shaped my career plans."

Veit is now pursuing a PhD in Applied Physics at Stanford University. "Michael's interests spanned many disciplines in science and engineering," explains Andrea Beloy, Michael's Honors Advisor. "When he found his fit in Physics, he really took off. I enjoyed working with him and am excited to follow his research career."

Interested students can learn more about faculty-directed research here on the UHP website.

About Michael's Research

My Honors Thesis was a study of transport measurements in the cuprate superconductor HgBa2CuO4+d. The cuprates are a class of superconductors which have a high superconducting transition temperature. This means that the cuprates do not have to be cooled as much as more conventional superconductors to become superconducting.

A full understanding of the cuprates remains elusive due to the observation of a number of anomalous properties which have been taken to be strong indicators that the physics of the cuprates cannot be described by the conventional model for simple metals, known as Fermi-liquid theory. However, I measured the resistivity, Hall effect, magnetoresistance, and Seebeck coefficient of the cuprate HgBa2CuO4+d, and I remarkably found that it behaves as it should in the Fermi-liquid theory. Such transport measurements are often among the first experiments to be performed on a new material. However, they are typically the least understood. My work has shown that there some aspects of these complex materials are rather conventional, and that there is still much to be learned from such measurements in the cuprates.

More about the Apker Award

The Leroy Apker Award recognizes outstanding achievements in physics by undergraduate students, and thereby provides encouragement to young physicists who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment. Two awards may be presented each year, one to a student from a PhD granting institution and one to a student from a non-PhD granting institution. More information is available on the American Physical Society website.

The winner of the Turner Award for the outstanding Honors thesis in the College of Liberal Arts for the 2013 calendar year is Sophie E. Wallerstedt, a major in history. Her thesis, "Politicians and Prostitutes Make Strange Bedfellows: A History of Commercialized Sex and Regulation in Early Minneapolis," was completed under the supervision of Professors Gail Dubrow and Kevin Murphy.

Honorable mention was awarded to Jillian Ryks, a journalism major whose thesis, "A Content Analysis of Women's Issues in Cable News: Election 2012," was completed under the supervision of Professor Daniel Wackman.

Congratulations, Sophie and Jillian!

The Turner award is named for political science professor Emeritus John E. Turner, a globally recognized leader in social sciences who received his master's degree (1949) and his PhD (1950) from the University of Minnesota. His distinguished career at the University of Minnesota spanned nearly four decades. His outstanding scholarship was underscored in 1974 when he was made a Regents' Professor. During his tenure he was also awarded the Morse-Alumni Award for Undergraduate Teaching. He authored, co-authored, and edited approximately thirty publications during the course of his career. He was instrumental in the creation of the International Studies Association, the premier scholarly association for the study of international relations. In his numerous leadership roles he served as an influential public figure who contributed to the world of social science in countless ways.

Joelle Stangler and John Reichl have recently been elected as President and VP of the Minnesota Student Association! The MSA veterans are currently serving on the executive board of the University Honors Student Association (UHSA) and will begin their term at the start of the 2014–15 academic year.

Stangler, a sophomore majoring in Political Science, has been serving as Ranking Representative to the Board of Regents for MSA. She sees her new role as an opportunity to give back to students on campus. "I would encourage every UHP student to join MSA, even if it's only for a semester," Stanger said. "You will learn how to change policy, lobby effectively, and lead groups on projects."

Reichl, a junior majoring in Finance, is the current President of UHSA and also serves as a Representative to the Board of Regents for MSA. He cites his experience with UHP and UHSA as preparation for his new role in MSA, and encourages all UHP students to become more involved. "To be an effective advocate for students, it's crucial to experience the breadth and depth of the entire undergraduate experience here at the U of M," Reichl explains. "MSA would be strengthened immensely by drawing on the unique perspectives, talents, and knowledge of UHP students."

To learn more about opportunities with MSA, check out their website.

Congratulations, Joelle and John!

A University of Minnesota–Twin Cities undergraduate has been named a 2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, and two UMTC undergraduates have received honorable mentions in the competition. The prestigious Goldwater Scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors 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.

University Honors Program student Rachel Soble is a 2014 Goldwater Scholar. Rachel is in her third year of a five-year undergraduate career pursuing Bachelors of Science degrees in genetics, cell biology & development (College of Biological Sciences) and computer science (College of Science and Engineering). She plans to earn a Ph.D. in computational biology and to develop new computational frameworks for investigating microbial ecology and physiology. Rachel is a National Merit Scholar and a Robert C. Byrd Scholar, and holds a prestigious American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship this year. As an Amgen Scholar in summer 2013 she conducted microbiology research at Columbia University. At the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, Rachel conducts research in Professor Jeffrey Gralnick's microbiology laboratory. Her project is the application of a new genetic technique called Tn-seq to study interdependence in a synthetic cooperative community of bacteria, with the goal of contributing to the scientific understanding of microbial cooperation. She has also worked on computational biology projects in Professor Chad Myers's research group. Rachel is co-author of a forthcoming article and has presented her research at national conferences. She is involved in many campus activities including Teaching SMART, a student group that teaches lessons in local schools to spark children's interest in science. Rachel grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and attended Brookfield High School in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Rachel Soble on her experience at the Gralnick Lab—Engineering Bacterial Cooperation.

Moriana Haj received an honorable mention from the Goldwater Scholarship Program this year. Moriana is a junior chemistry major in the University Honors Program and the College of Science and Engineering. Originally from Edina, Minnesota where she attended Edina High School, Moriana plans to pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. She aspires to participate in interdisciplinary research efforts to solve major scientific problems, in areas ranging from drug discovery to sustainable materials development. As an undergraduate researcher in Professor Thomas Hoye's laboratory, Moriana has been studying various aspects of a newly uncovered chemical reaction, the hexadehydro-Diels-Alder (HDDA) reaction, a variation on a classic transformation that is fundamental to the field of organic chemistry. Moriana takes inspiration from the creativity and open-mindedness that led Hoye's research group to explore the HDDA reaction, which they first observed while attempting a routine reaction in an unrelated study. She is a National Merit Scholar and the recipient of several scholarships to support her research activities. As the recipient of the Robert C. Brasted Fellowship, she is completing a teaching apprenticeship with Professor Jane Wissinger, for which she is developing a new experiment for the organic chemistry laboratory course.

Robin Lee also received honorable mention. A native of Bel Air, Maryland and a graduate of Bel Air High School, Robin lived in South Korea for many years before coming to the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities to pursue his interest in cancer genetics. Now a junior in the University Honors Program, he is completing an undergraduate degree in genetics, cell biology & development in the College of Biological Sciences. Robin has conducted research with Professors Craig Eckfeldt and David Largaespada on the pathways of growth in NRAS, a gene frequently mutated that causes abnormal growth in acute myeloid leukemia. Over several summers in high school and college, he has engaged in neurobiology, genetics, and cancer research at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea. His first-authored articles have been published in Gene and The Journal of Genetic Medicine, and he has received an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program grant and other awards to support his research and travel to present at conferences. Robin plans to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics and hopes one day to establish an international cancer genetics research consortium.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress 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. This year, 283 scholars were selected nationwide from a field of more than 1,166 students who were nominated by their colleges and universities. Each institution many nominate up to four students.

A total of 55 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities undergraduates have been Goldwater Scholars since the program's inception in 1986. UMTC students who are interested in applying for the scholarship in the future may consult the Office for National and International Scholarships.

For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship, visit

Two University of Minnesota students, Melanie Paurus and Johnathon Walker, have been named Katherine E. Sullivan Scholars for 2014–15. The Sullivan Scholarship is the University's most prestigious scholarship for study abroad. It supports a fifth year of undergraduate study in another country for one or more outstanding seniors from any campus of the University of Minnesota. The annual scholarship competition is administered by the University Honors Program at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, and the fund is managed by the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance.

Melanie Paurus is majoring in Spanish and Global Studies at UMTC with academic interests in human rights, drug trafficking, migration, and incarceration. She will spend the 2014–15 academic year in Jerusalem studying intensive Arabic at the Hebrew University. Melanie has volunteered and completed internships in Mexico, Columbia, and Ecuador, including a women's prison in Quito. Her concern for people caught up in the destructive fall-out of the drug trade has led her to study the structures of international trafficking, and she plans to expand her knowledge to the trade in opium through Central Asia and the Middle East. Her expertise with Spanish has shown her that speaking a local language is essential, so she will study Arabic in order to gain access to the cultural, social, and political dynamics currently shaping the region. Melanie is from Cottage Grove, MN and is a graduate of Park High School.

Johnathon Zelenak Walker is a student in the University Honors Program at UMTC, with majors in Global Studies and Political Science and a minor in Spanish Studies. Inspired by growing up in rural Minnesota and his extensive travel throughout rural communities in Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and Bolivia, Johnathon's interests are agricultural politics and networks of solidarity in resistance to the state and capitalism. His research examines the use of art and technology to build solidarity between dispersed autonomous communities across cultural and territorial boundaries. Next year, Johnathon will attend the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito, Ecuador and continue his fieldwork in South America. Johnathon is from Clear Lake, MN and is a graduate of St. Cloud Technical High School.

Contratulations, Melanie and Johnathon!