Aaron Calderon, a junior majoring in mathematics and philosophy, has been awarded a Goldwater scholarship for his mathematics research for the 2015-16 academic year.
A federally endowed agency, the Goldwater Foundation was established in 1986 in honor of Sen. Barry Goldwater. The scholarship was designed to encourage students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. Two-hundred-sixty Goldwater Scholars were selected this year on academic merit from a field of 1,206 mathematics, science and engineering students. Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has bestowed 7,428 scholarships worth approximately $48 million.
Calderon, who attributes part of his success to the help of Laura Damuth, UNL’s director of national and international fellowships, said he was elated upon learning he had received the Goldwater.
With the scholarship, he will continue his research on applications of geometry and computer science to the mathematical study of braids, which he has been studying for over a year under the direction of Susan Hermiller, professor and graduate chair in the Department of Mathematics. Calderon is a graduate of Omaha Westside High School.
Calderon, who is currently studying mathematics in Moscow, Russia, said applying for the Goldwater has been an introspective process. The experience has allowed him to “think about the progress I am making towards my goal of a Ph.D. and what steps I still need to take to get there,” he said.
Calderon plans to pursue a doctorate in mathematics to conduct research in either the private sector or academia.
Christopher Davidson, a senior biological systems engineering major, also received an honorable mention for the Goldwater scholarship for his biomedical research under Angela Pannier.