Topics: Honors College, College of Sciences and Humanities, Scholarships

April 20, 2011

For the first time in university history, two Ball State students have received Goldwater Scholarships in a competition honoring only 275 students around the country.

Junior William Jay, a double major in physics and German from Logansport, Ind., and junior Jennifer Strong, a biology/zoology major from Goshen, Ind., have received the award. Both Honors College students, the pair are two of the seven Indiana college students receiving Goldwater Scholarships. Also recognized were Ball State students Lindsey Steiner and Ashley Zahrt, who received honorable mentions from the program.

"Having two Goldwater Scholars and two honorable mentions in a single year is an unprecedented honor for Ball State," said Barbara Stedman, director of national and international scholarships. "It's a tremendous testimony to the quality of education and research experience provided to the students by their faculty mentors."

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program awards scholarships based on academic merit to sophomores and juniors who plan to enter careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500.

Jay's and Strong's Goldwater awards, in combination with an announcement earlier this month that Ball State student Megan Whitacre had received the Harry S Truman Scholarship, bring the total to 27 students who have earned major national scholarships and fellowships since 2009.

Jay, who plans to earn his doctorate in physics or mathematical physics, said his career goal is to conduct research in quantum field theory or elementary particles and teach at the university level. "I have worked hard over the past couple of years, and it is a great feeling to receive recognition for all the hours in the library and in the lab," he said.

Strong plans to earn a PhD in biology with the goal of conducting herpetology research in a field setting for a state or federal organization. "I've known since I was young that this was the field I wanted to be in, and receiving an honor like the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship will bring me one step closer to that dream," she said.

Steiner, a junior from Roanoke, Ind., plans to earn an MD/PhD in infectious diseases.  She wants to serve as a physician in low-income areas, including rural areas and South Africa, and use that experience to develop a research program in globally important infectious diseases.

Zahrt, a sophomore from South Bend, Ind., plans to earn an MD/PhD in pediatric toxicology. She intends to work in a teaching hospital doing clinical work and conducting research in toxicology.

For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship program, visit

By Chanel Richards