Founded in recognition of U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater, a scholarship fund that recognizes distinguished students in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering, has been bestowed on Lobos, Lauren Zundel and Esteban Abeyta.

The Goldwater Scholarship provides financial support for juniors and seniors who are planning to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in STEM research. According to the Foundation, the Goldwater Scholars were selected based on academic merit from a field of 1,280 natural sciences, mathematics and engineering students nominated by the campus representatives from over 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide.

Zundel, a physics & mathematics major, plans to conduct research in the area of theoretical nanophotonics and teach at the university level after obtaining a Ph.D. Her mentors include Alejandro Manjavacas, Bernd Bassalleck, and David Dunlap.

“It’s such an honor to have been chosen—I’m immeasurably grateful to all of my recommenders, to Kiyoko Simmons, and to Professor Jeff Rack for helping me to make my application as competitive as possible,” said Zundel. “I’m, of course, especially thankful to Dr. Alejandro Manjavacas for being such a phenomenal mentor and for helping me to discover my passion for nanophotonics. I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today if Alejandro hadn’t taken a chance working with me as a freshman and dedicating so much of his time to teaching me.”

Abeyta, a biochemistry major, plans to get a Ph.D. and research pathogenic mechanisms that lead to diagnostic tools, vaccine development and the study of novel targets for drugs. His mentors include Maggie Werner-Washburne, Samuel Lee, and Alina Deshpande.

“I’m humbled and honored to be selected as a 2018 Goldwater Scholar,” said Abeyta. “I could not be more thankful for the opportunities that this recognition provides. I would not be here without my research mentors and the UNM IMSD program that have given me the opportunity to explore my interests in science. I’m proud to represent New Mexico and UNM and hope to fulfill the expectations of this award.”

UNM’s National & International Scholarships and Fellowships (NISF) office provides students with merit-based scholarship and fellowship opportunities. The NISF office helps UNM students to become competitive candidates for prestigious scholarships by coordinating the institutional endorsement and assisting the UNM nominees with the scholarship application process. Students who are interested in these scholarships must submit a preliminary application to obtain institutional endorsement.

For more information on scholarship opportunities visit the NISF website.