Five faculty members have each received $10,000 New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Individual Artist grants to carry out creative projects, including several that have a focus on public service in the arts. NYSCA also awarded a $40,000…
3 Students Awarded Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship
Three Syracuse University students—Matthew Snyder, Cody VanNostrand and Jose Arturo Venegas—have been selected for the 2023 Goldwater Scholarship, the preeminent undergraduate scholarship awarded in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics in the United States. This is the second consecutive year that Syracuse University has had three scholars selected in one year.
- Snyder, a junior, is a psychology major in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program;
- VanNostrand, a junior, is an aerospace engineering major in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), a physics minor in A&S and a member of the Crown Honors Program; and
- Venegas, a sophomore, is a civil engineering major in ECS.
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 1,267 nominations this year from around the country and 413 students were selected for the scholarship.
Each of the Syracuse University Goldwater Scholarship nominees worked with the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA) to prepare their application. A faculty committee, headed by James Spencer, professor of chemistry, selected Syracuse’s nominees for the national competition.
“Matthew, Cody and Arturo benefited from excellent mentorship and guidance from faculty here at the University. The strong research profiles they have built, combined with their exceptional academic records and clear professional goals, made them outstanding Goldwater candidates,” says Jolynn Parker, director of CFSA. “They are among the next generation of leaders in innovation in STEM.”
Snyder says his passion for studying psychology is driven both by a strong and genuine intellectual curiosity for the subject, as well as his belief in the unique capacity for work in this field to uplift human well-being. “I feel very fortunate that the field of study that has most tightly gripped my curiosity is one in which I feel there is a tremendous opportunity to conduct research ultimately aimed at helping others,” he says.
During Summer 2022, as an intern in the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Summer Research Internship Program, Snyder worked with Lisham Ashrafioun, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester, on a study assessing the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy for loneliness in treating opioid use disorder (OUD) in individuals suffering from clinically significant loneliness.
Under the mentorship of Brett Jakubiak, assistant professor of psychology in A&S, he conducted an independent study assessing the role of attachment orientation in the support-seeking strategies used by anxiously attached individuals within their close relationships. And he has joined the laboratory of Katie Kidwell, assistant professor of psychology in A&S, and has begun working on his Honors thesis assessing the role of attachment in physical health behaviors under her mentorship. Laura Machia, associate professor and associate chair of psychology in A&S, has also been an important mentor.
Following graduation, Snyder plans to enroll in a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology that will support research at the intersection of pediatric health behaviors and addiction. He plans a research career focused on expanding the scientific understanding of pediatric health behavior.
“The financial assistance offered by the Goldwater Scholarship is very meaningful to my family and me and will allow me to enter graduate school with a greater degree of financial comfort. Being recognized as a Goldwater Scholar is an important recognition of my research achievements thus far, helping me to further my education and research,” he says. “I am incredibly grateful for the support that I have received from each of my research mentors, CFSA, and my friends and family.”
VanNostrand’s drive to study aerospace engineering comes from his desire to benefit society, specifically through improving transportation and aerospace vehicle capabilities. “Whether it be the upcoming urban air mobility industry, fluid-traversing robots or new types of space propulsion, a more mobile society will be able to better collect information and respond to the challenges it will face,” he says. “The aerospace field is one that is forward-looking, always with new ideas, technologies and challenges just around the corner, and I am excited to help create new ideas and solve such challenges.”
His study abroad experience in Florence, Italy, confirmed his intended path of study. “I was able to visit museums in my free time featuring the original instruments of scientists and engineers such as Galilei, DaVinci and even Bernoulli. Seeing the original instruments and how they directly related to the fundamental concepts of my coursework was both humbling and inspiring,” he says.
VanNostrand has seized opportunities for research since his first year in college. In Spring 2021, he joined the Aerospace Computational Methods Lab (ACML) of John Dannenhoffer, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. That summer, he participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in which he and a partner remotely coded and developed two models of balsa planes. In Summer 2022, as part of an REU program, he joined the Combustion and Energy Research Lab (COMER) of Jeongmin Ahn, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, where he learned how to design and make a testing procedure for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). He is second author on a paper published in the Proceedings of the Nineteenth International Conference on Flow Dynamics. Last year, he was selected to participate in the L’SPACE NASA workforce development program. The experience he has gained in writing proposals, using quad charts, science traceability matrices, solicitation reviews and team-based research has helped to prepare him for a career in the space industry.
VanNostrand is currently working on his Honors thesis project investigating the fin oscillations of the manta ray via a model of his design, under the mentorship of Kasey Laurent, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. He plans to obtain a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and pursue research and development in aerospace robotics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory or in the private space industry.
“The Goldwater Scholarship is an amazing opportunity that will not only financially support the beginning of my career, but will also open me up to a network of scholar alumni that offer mentoring and advice; this will be immensely useful as I begin looking at graduate school,” he says. “I am incredibly honored to have been selected for this scholarship, and I am thankful for all the guidance I’ve received from the mechanical and aerospace engineering department and CFSA, and especially for continuous support from my friends and family.”
Jose Arturo Venegas
Venegas’ long-term goal is to aid as many people as possible while improving the conditions of the natural environment. “Civil engineering provides me with an avenue to improve the natural integration of infrastructure and utilities we use on a daily basis, while incorporating my passion for sciences, math and sustainability. I appreciate the career flexibility and hands-on field work that civil engineering allows,” he says.
Even before getting to the Syracuse University campus, Venegas began conducting research in the multiscale material modeling lab of Zhao Qin, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. He developed an independent research project focused on verifying whether a structurally complex fiber-reinforced composite expressed a real-world negative Poisson’s ratio during compression. Through this research, Venegas has used classical lamination theory to identify a baseline of mechanics for composite structure variations. He has also utilized computer-aided modeling and finite element analysis to support the elastic data predicted in in-situ imaging experiments.
Venegas gained additional research experience participating in a National Science Foundation REU program in materials science research at the University of California-Irvine in Summer 2022. He worked on two projects–one in an all-solid-state battery lab and another in a grain boundary (GB) characterization lab. “Each project provided me with insights into electrochemistry and materials science,” he says. Venegas was a part of the Strasbourg Center: Engineering program in fall 2022.
Venegas plans to earn a Ph.D. in civil engineering and pursue research on ecologically sound building material composites, with the goal of revolutionizing sustainable infrastructure in the U.S.
“The Goldwater Scholarship supports my commitment to materials research to expand energy infrastructure globally. I’m also excited to get involved in the Goldwater Ambassadors program to provide STEM mentorship to other students. I am honored to be recognized and could not have done it without the support of my research mentor, Dr. Zhao Qin, the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising, my family and friends and many more,” says Venegas.
CFSA seeks applicants for the Goldwater Scholarship each fall; the campus deadline is mid-November each year. Interested students should contact CFSA at firstname.lastname@example.org.