Creighton students earn prestigious Goldwater, Fulbright awards, reflecting a deep commitment to undergraduate research (sponsored)

From left to right, Mason Rhodes, Siddharth Venkatraman, Spencer Thompson, Sahil Sandhu and Mary Kate Wolken. Rhodes, Venkatraman and Thompson received the Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program award. Sandhu and Wolken received a Fulbright Teaching Assistant award.

Creighton University is rounding out the academic year with a group of students earning some of the nation’s most prestigious honors.

A trio of undergraduate researchers and budding scientists are Creighton’s latest Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program honorees.

Juniors Mason Rhodes, Spencer Thompson and Siddharth Venkatraman continue a tradition that extends over 10 years as Creighton can lay claim to the most Goldwater Scholars produced by a Catholic university and a place among the top 25 private universities producing such scholars — joining the ranks with Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and MIT.

Rhodes is studying physics, and Thompson and Venkatraman are studying biochemistry.

“Creighton University is deeply committed to undergraduate research, which is evident by the immense success we have with the Goldwater Scholars Program,” said Julie Soukup, PhD, a chemistry professor and director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship. “Creighton’s faculty-led research opportunities provide the perfect environment for students to grow and flourish as researchers and scholars. I am extremely proud of our three Goldwater Scholars, who have the potential to succeed not only in scientific research, but to shine as leaders.”

The federally-funded Goldwater Scholarship is one of the nation’s most prestigious for young scientists, and highlights undergraduate research incubators such as Creighton, where the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship is giving students opportunities to engage in top-flight research with internationally recognized faculty.

With an increase in funding from Congress, 496 Goldwater Scholarships were awarded in 2019, out of an applicant pool of more than 5,000 college sophomores and juniors. Some 443 institutions nationwide submitted applications and 260 had students earn a scholarship.

Creighton was one of just 49 schools to have three awardees. It’s the second time in four years that Creighton has had multiple Goldwater Scholars.

Creighton also boasts two honorees for the Fulbright Teaching Assistant award. Graduating seniors Mary Kate Wolken and Sahil Sandhu were both tapped for the Fulbright, which gives students an opportunity to teach, research and serve as cultural ambassadors.

Wolken will spend her Fulbright year in Spain and Sandhu will be headed to Tajikistan.

[Learn more about undergraduate research opportunities at Creighton.]

Creighton University offers a top-ranked education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition — and a welcoming, supportive environment to a diverse community of educators, professionals and support staff. Read more about the university, and connect with Creighton on Facebook,  Twitter  and Instagram.

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