In 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) observed the first detection of gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of spacetime created by the cataclysmic collision of two black holes. The Syracuse University Gravitational Wave Group played a leading role in this…
ECS Junior Alexander Metcalf Selected for 2021 Goldwater Scholarship
Alexander Metcalf, a junior aerospace engineering major in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program, has been selected for the 2021 Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater Scholarship is the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship awarded in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics in the United States.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, the five-term senator from Arizona. The purpose of the program is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields.
The Goldwater Foundation received 1,256 nominations this year from around the country and 410 students were selected for the scholarship.
“I am very honored to have been recognized by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship,” says Metcalf. “The award will aid in my future endeavors in a Ph.D. program and eventually pursuing research work for the Department of Defense or a private company within the aerospace sector.”
Metcalf worked with the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA) to prepare his application. A faculty committee, headed by James Spencer, professor of chemistry, selected Syracuse’s nominees for the national competition.
“Alex’s extraordinary academic record and research profile made him an outstanding Goldwater candidate,” says Jolynn Parker, director of CFSA. “His selection for the award is a vote of confidence in his potential to do important research in the future.”
Metcalf has sought out a range of research opportunities during his time at Syracuse. In summer 2019, he interned at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, developing computer code capable of performing mechanism assembly for the software Engineering Sketch Pad under the advisement of John Dannenhoffer, associate professor and aerospace engineering undergraduate program director.
Metcalf also pursued a bioengineering independent study research project during the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters overseen by Pun To (Douglas) Yung, associate teaching professor of biomedical and chemical engineering and bioengineering undergraduate program director. Project Footstrike focused on creating a computerized shoe insole capable of measuring a user’s heel strike and toe off mechanics during activity. Metcalf was the lead computer coder for this project, which required him to write code in C++ and MATLAB coding languages with the aim of increasing accuracy of the heel strike and toe off mechanics measurements.
In summer 2020, Metcalf joined the Combustion and Energy Research laboratory of Jeongmin Ahn, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. There, he is currently working on a hybrid power train for small unmanned aerial vehicles.
Metcalf plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering with a focus on combustion, propulsion and aeronautics. “I want to work in a field that blends computational modeling and simulation with real-world testing and engineering,” says Metcalf. “I am particularly interested in conducting research that will increase efficiency and reliability of the engineering systems that contribute to U.S. national security.”
CFSA seeks applicants for the Goldwater Scholarship each fall; the campus deadline is mid-November each year. Interested students should contact the CFSA at firstname.lastname@example.org.