Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Gerber receives Goldwater Scholarship

Daniel Gerber, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, recently won the Goldwater Scholarship for 2010.

On April 1, Gerber found out he won the scholarship. He said the Goldwater Scholarship will help him achieve his future goals of participating in graduate research.

“Research is awarded based on perceived research potential,” Gerber said.

Gary Sloan, professor and coordinator of prestige scholarships and awards in the Honors College, said 300 undergraduate students majoring in math, engineering or the natural sciences can receive $7,500 each in Goldwater Scholarships every year for two years.

Sloan said the number of scholarships awarded varies from year to year and 10 percent fewer students won this year than in previous years.

Gerber is an outstanding student, Sloan said, who has done much research, co-authored a paper and received awards for presentations.

“For an undergrad to be a co-author on a paper—it’s not unheard of, but it’s not common,” Sloan said.

Robert Taylor, head of the mechanical engineering department, echoed Sloan’s comments, adding that Gerber had almost perfect grades. Taylor said Gerber has done “cutting-edge” research that has led to publications and has accomplished leadership roles both on and off the UA campus.

Gerber is an active member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, where he has received awards for public speaking. Taylor said Gerber placed first in an oral presentation competition with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Taylor said the leadership roles in these professional engineering organizations are among many others for Gerber.

Sloan said, in order to apply for the scholarship, a student must fill out a long application form that asks about the student’s background, classes, and activities. When filling out the application, the student must show considerable activity in research and plan on pursuing a career, Sloan said. He added that it may be helpful to a student applicant to co-author papers and receive awards for presentations given at scientific meetings.

“It’s kind of a team effort because they have to know three faculty members who will write strong letters,” Sloan said.

Sloan said he writes a nomination statement for four of the usual 12 or 14 scholarship applicants every year.

“It’s tough to try to pick just four,” Sloan said.

Sloan said that in the past four years, four UA students have been Goldwater scholars and two have received honorable mentions. Sloan added that some of the undergraduate students do as well or better than graduate students in their research, which helps a lot when they apply for the scholarship.

“The reason we’re so successful is because our students are so involved in research,” Goldwater said. “I’m excited and glad to be honored in that way.”

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