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Two Syracuse Students Named Goldwater Scholars

Recipients Conduct Research Across STEM Fields

May 10, 2017 | Article by: Elizabeth Droge-Young


Jordan Barrett ’18 and Maizy Ludden ’19

Two students from the College of Arts and Sciences have been awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. Biology and geography major Maizy Ludden ’19 and physics and mathematics major Jordan Barrett ’18 will receive up to $7,500 a year to support the remainder of their undergraduate educations. Ludden also landed a Udall Scholarship, which supports student commitment to leadership, public service and issues related to Native American nations or to the environment.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program has been funding exceptional students in science, mathematics and engineering since 1989. Since then, more than 7,500 scholarships worth nearly $50 million have been awarded in honor of U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, the five-term senator from Arizona.

Ludden and Barrett represent two of the 240 scholars selected from this year’s pool of 1,286 applicants. The purpose of the program is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields.

Hailing from nearby Liverpool, New York, Ludden researches the relationship between plants and pollinators in Kari Segraves’ lab, with an eye on applications for sustainable agriculture. One such project investigated how soil organisms influence which insects pollinate buckwheat, with an overarching goal of facilitating agricultural productivity.

Currently, Ludden is investigating bird and pollinator diversity in relation to local serviceberry trees with funding from a Biology Research Award from the Department of Biology and a Young Research Fellows Program award through the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising. She hopes to promote serviceberries as a free food source by partnering with local community centers.

“What impresses me most about Maizy is her ability to synthesize the literature and create exciting research projects that unite her interests in sustainability, geography and helping others,” Segraves says. “She is one of the most thoughtful and motivated students that I have met during my career, and I am honored to be her research mentor.”

Barrett, a native of South Paris, Maine, is pursuing a dual major in physics and mathematics. He conducts research with three professors across both of his majors, while also participating in the Society of Physics Students and the honorary mathematics society, Pi Mu Epsilon.

Barrett runs simulations of how thin, single sheets of plastic “behave” at the interface of two different liquids in Joseph Paulsen’s lab in the physics department. On the mathematics side, Barrett focuses on topology, or the study of object’s properties that stay the same after the object is deformed or twisted—think stretching a circle into an oval. He is conducting his senior thesis research on knot theory with Douglas Anderson and deriving “topological relations” with Stephan Wehrli.

“Jordan is highly motivated, broadly interested, and has already conducted an impressive amount of original research work in several different areas. I am certain he has a bright future in academia ahead of him,” Wehrli says.

Both Ludden and Barrett have their sites set on a Ph.D. after graduating from Syracuse. Goal schools for the two include Yale, Stanford or our neighbor to the south, Cornell.

Both credit supportive professors in their respective departments, as well as advisors from the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising.

“I really want to thank all the wonderful mentors, professors and advisors who have helped me get this far,” Ludden says.

Barrett echoes the sentiment: “I’ve been really fortunate to be a part of two incredibly supportive departments,” he says. 


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Amy Manley