by Whitney Hale
(April 22, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Office of External Scholarships announces Samuel Saarinen, of Shelbyville, Ky., has been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship worth up to $7,500 per year. Saarinen is one of 283 students nationwide awarded the Goldwater Scholarship this year. This year's 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.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was authorized by Congress to honor the former Arizona U.S. senator who served the nation for 30 years. The scholarship program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has bestowed more than 7,163 scholarships worth approximately 46 million dollars.
Saarinen plans to use the Goldwater Scholarship to fund studies at the graduate program of his choice.
The son of Anne and Tim Saarinen, Saarinen is currently pursuing computer science, mathematics and physics majors. He has been active in research since an early age working with Western Kentucky University professors Claus Ernst and Uta Ziegler on mathematics research in high school.
A member of the UK Honors Program, Saarinen is currently participating in undergraduate research with Judy Goldsmith, professor of computer science at UK College of Engineering. Saarinen considers his research supervisors as also mentors who have had a major impact on his academic and personal growth. He also credits Paul Eakin, professor of mathematics, and Jerzy Jaromczyk, associate professor of computer science, as great influences on his studies.
Saarinen hopes his interest in and work in these fields will help better the world. "First and foremost, I enjoy these math-heavy disciplines. But there is also the opportunity to conduct socially significant research. My dream is that the work that I am good at will someday improve the lives of those around me."
After completing his undergraduate studies at UK, the Singletary and Patterson Scholar hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in artificial intelligence and teach one day. "I think becoming a professor might be a good way to continue doing what I love."
Students interested in applying for the Goldwater Scholarship should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of External Scholarships (OES). Part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, OES assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with OES well in advance of the scholarship deadline.